Actor, director, and author George Takei will be honored at this year’s Festival with the AWFF Lifetime Achievement Award during the Award ceremony that precedes the screening of his lm Allegiance.
In a distinguished career, George is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek:
Voyager. In 2012, he starred in the Broadway musical Allegiance, which he described as his legacy project. The show is based on his own experiences and research into the Japanese American internment of World War II. The screen version of Allegiance will be the Festival’s Closing Night Film.
George also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign. In 2004, the government of Japan presented him with the ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette,’ in acknowledgment of his contributions to US-Japanese relations. Also, George is one of the founders of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. In May 2015, the Museum honored him with the Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service.
George even has an asteroid named after him, ‘Asteroid 7307 Takei’. Upon learning of the honor, George said, “I am now a heavenly body. I found out about it yesterday. I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky - just like an asteroid.”
Festival Director, Georges Chamchoum stated, “George Takei is an American actor, director, author, and activist. But above all, he is an amazing human being, which is why we consider him the perfect candidate for our Lifetime Achievement Award”.
Cinematic Legacy Award
Murat Aliev, the renowned, multi-award-winning Kyrgyz Cinematographer will be honored with the Cinematic Legacy Award at this year’s Festival.
Murat is best known for his outstanding work on the highly acclaimed historical epic-drama Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains, the 2015 Kyrgyz Oscar submission, which became the most popular and successful lm in the history of Kyrgyzstan. Murat also worked on the stunning Kazakh drama lm Kelin, which was shortlisted for the 82nd Academy Awards.
AWFF Director Georges Chamchoum says, “ I first fell in love with the haunting work of Murat Aliev a few years ago when I saw his lm Kelin at the Monaco Charity Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. I was in awe of the stunning and bewitching cinematography. Then he shot the sweeping epic Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains and finally last year Stranger. Murat is like a painter who touches you deep within your soul. He truly possesses a magical eye, and this is how we unanimously decided to choose Murat as our recipient for the 2017 Cinematic Legacy Award - the pure genius of Murat Aliev!”
SAREUM SREY MOCH
Rising Star Award
Young Cambodian actress Sareum Srey Moch will be honored with the Rising Star Award at this year’s Festival for her astonishing and moving leading performance in Angelina Jolie’s powerful, highly acclaimed lm First They Killed My Father.
Serum, who was discovered in an EYC (Empowering Youth in Cambodia) charity school, stars as the young Loung Ung in an adaptation of Ung’s best- selling memoir. Set in Cambodia in 1975, the lm depicts the story of seven-year-old Loung who is
forced to become a child soldier while her siblings are sent to labor camps during Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime.
Festival Director, Georges Chamchoum said, ” When I initially saw First They Killed My Father, I was struck by Sareum’s large dark eyes - a look that shoots you straight through the heart. This wonderful little girl stole the movie! Furthermore, as the lm progresses, we see her grow and develop with her amazing and touching performance. Within a young and innocent child, we experience her tortured soul and witness all the pain of the universe inside her. I couldn’t help but think - there is a young star in the making. Her performance shatters the screen. A Rising Star is born!”