|St. Paul, Minn. (October 10, 2019) — FilmNorth, the Minneapolis-St. Paul based nonprofit organization empowering media artists in The North to tell their stories and build successful careers, announced Thursday that it will honor legendary independent filmmaker Gregg Araki and Emmy and Independent Spirit Award nominated screenwriter Michael Starrbury at the annual FilmNorth gala, “Illuminate,” on Thursday, Nov. 21.|
Araki and Starrbury will receive FilmNorth Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement, innovation, and artistry in film. Past recipients include Oscar nominated writer-director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) and acclaimed actor/director John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, Lucky).
HBO is the Presenting Sponsor of “Illuminate,” with Best Buy and Tim Grady and Catherine Allan joining as Gold Sponsors. “Illuminate” will take place at premier St. Paul event space Paikka.
Araki’s films have been universally praised by audiences and critics alike – screening at the world’s most renowned film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, New York, and London. Araki has made eleven acclaimed independent features including “White Bird in a Blizzard”, “Kaboom”, “Smiley Face”, “Mysterious Skin”, “Splendor”, “Nowhere”, “The Doom Generation”, “Totally F**ed Up”, and “The Living End.” He most recently directed 10 episodes of “Now Apocalypse” for Starz – a series he created, co-wrote and executive produced with Oscar winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and Gregory Jacobs.
Starrbury, a Minnesotan, most recently co-wrote the final episode of Ava DuVernay’s limited series “When They See Us With Her”, which earned him his first Emmy nomination for writing (the series was nominated 16 times). The two are currently adapting The Battle Versailles at HBO Films.
Starrbury is also writing an action-comedy at New Line for Jermaine Fowler and Lil Rel, and a Robert Smalls biopic for Participant Media. Previously, he was an Independent Spirit Award nominee for writing the Sundance hit “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete”, starring Oscar winning actress Jennifer Hudson, and co-created the Comedy Central series “The Legends of Chamberlain Heights”, which ran for two seasons.
Andrew Peterson, executive director of FilmNorth, said the organization is thrilled to honor Araki and Starrbury.
“From his first film over three decades ago, Gregg has been an important and singular force in independent film,” Peterson said. “Each film provides a unique jolt of energy, humor, and heart.”
“And Michael Starrbury is a treasure — not just for Minnesota, but the world,” he said. “Michael is one of the most exciting new voices in cinema and we’ve only just begun to see what he’s capable of—and the heights to which his career will go from here.”
The FilmNorth gala, “Illuminate,” serves as a fundraiser for FilmNorth, which celebrates its 32nd anniversary this year. FilmNorth supports the media arts community in The North (Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin) through youth programs, master classes, continuing education, exhibitions and screenings, and fiscal support.
The 32nd anniversary gala, “Illuminate,” will take place on 7-11 p.m. Nov. 21 from at Paikka, 550 Vandalia St., Suite 165, St. Paul, MN 55114. The Awards will be presented at a special reception at FilmNorth at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at myfilmnorth.org.
Founded in 1987, FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements. www.myfilmnorth.org