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Laurence Fishburne to be awarded at Bahamas Fest

The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) announced today that esteemed actor and Academy Award® nominee Laurence Fishburne will be honored with the prestigious Career Achievement Award at this year’s Festival, taking place December 4-11 in Nassau. The announcement was made by BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.

Mr. Fishburne will be on hand for the special tribute and presentation on Sunday, December 7th. Academy Award® winner Sir Sean Connery will again be lending his full support at BIFF, attending as Festival Patron and presenting Laurence Fishburne with the Career Achievement Award.

Sponsored by Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Private Bank and Trust and Chopard, the Career Achievement Tribute honors an actor or actress whose work has had a major impact and has advanced the frontiers of cinematic artistry around the world. Past recipients include Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage and Daryl Hannah.

Commented Vanderpool, “We are excited and honored to welcome Laurence Fishburne to the Bahamas and pay tribute to his remarkable career with our special Career Achievement Award. Mr. Fishburne is one of the great actors of our time and is nothing less than an icon in our community and throughout the Caribbean.”

An actor, writer, producer, and director, Laurence Fishburne has been acclaimed for his work on stage, screen, and television. He earned the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theater World Awards for his performance in the Broadway production of August Wilson's Two Trains Running. Subsequently, Mr. Fishburne was honored with an Emmy Award for his performance in “The Box” episode of the NYC-shot anthology series Tribeca. He currently joined the cast of the television series “CSI” and will debut his role by 2009.

Mr. Fishburne received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ike Turner in “What's Love Got To Do With It,” directed by Brian Gibson.

Among his other notable screen credits are Clint Eastwood's multi-award-winning “Mystic River,” for which he shared in the ensemble's Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture; Larry and Andy Wachowski's blockbuster trilogy of “The Matrix,” “The Matrix Reloaded,” and “The Matrix Revolutions;” Bill Duke's “Hoodlum,” which Mr. Fishburne also executive-produced, and “Deep Cover;” Oliver Parker's “Othello,” for which he was the first African-American actor to play the title character in a major film version; Arne Glimcher's “Just Cause;” John Singleton's “Higher Learning,” for which he won an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor, and “Boyz N the Hood;” Steven Zaillian's “Searching for Bobby Fischer;” Martin Sheen's “Cadence;” Abel Ferrara's “King of New York;” Francis Ford Coppola's “The Cotton Club” and “Rumble Fish,” as well as the classic “Apocalypse Now;” and Joe Manduke's “Cornbread, Earl and Me,” which marked his film debut.

He made his feature directorial debut on “Once in the Life,” the independent film version of his play Riff-Raff. He also wrote, produced, and starred in the movie adaptation, having previously starred in and directed the original theatrical production. The initial run of the latter, in Los Angeles, was his first production under his own banner, LOA Productions, and was followed by a production at New York's Circle Rep Theater.

Mr. Fishburne's theater work predates his film career, as he began acting onstage at age 10. At 14, he was cast in a production at New York's prestigious Negro Ensemble Theater and accepted to the city's famed High School of Performing Arts. More recently, he starred on Broadway as King Henry II in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of “The Lion in Winter.”

He has starred in several features for HBO: Michael Apted's “Always Outnumbered,” which Mr. Fishburne also executive-produced, from the first screenplay by celebrated author Walter Mosley; Robert Markowitz' “The Tuskegee Airmen,” for which Fishburne won an NAACP Image Award and was nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe Awards; and Joseph Sargent's “Miss Evers' Boys.” The latter telefilm earned multiple honors. Among them were five Emmy Awards, including the top prize of Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie (which he shared in his capacity as the film's executive producer), as well as the coveted President's Award (which honors a program that illuminates a social or educational issue). For his performance in “Miss Evers' Boys,” Fishburne won an NAACP Image Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Mr. Fishburne's television work also includes such network telefilms as Robert Markowitz' “Decoration Day,” Michael Schultz' “For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story,” and Richard T. Heffron's “A Rumor of War.”

Through his Cinema Gypsy Prods., produced Laurence Malkin's dramatic thriller “Five Fingers” (unrelated to the classic film of the same name). Mr. Fishburne stars opposite Ryan Phillippe in the feature film.

Entering just its fifth year, the Bahamas International Film Festival has established itself as a marquee international Festival in the Caribbean region, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world and showcasing a diverse array of international films.

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