After garnering a slew of awards and nominations from the Oscars to the Emmys, renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler, A.S.C will be adding one more honor to his already impressive list when he receives the Woodstock Film Festival’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award this fall.
“We are thrilled to present him with the award,” says Woodstock Film Festival co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. “Wexler’s outstanding talent as a cinematographer, his unique voice as a director and his unwavering passion as a social activist have been an inspiration and a guiding light.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates Haskell’s distinguished career that spans six decades, working as a director of photography for many acclaimed films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and American Graffiti. His first Academy Award for Best Cinematography came in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? In all, Wexler has two Academy Awards under his belt as well as an Independent Spirit Award, The American Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Wexler’s relationship with the Woodstock Film Festival dates back to the festival’s inauguration nine years ago. Throughout the years, the moviemaker has participated in panel discussions, had his works showcased and personally selected a cinematographer to receive the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, which is handed out during the festival’s Maverick Awards. “Photographers are storytellers who have always been welcome at Woodstock,” says Wexler.
Though his first love is photography, Wexler has also shown a passion for directing and made several critically-acclaimed films throughout his career. Shot during the 1968 Democratic Convention, Medium Cool was nominated for a DGA Award while Latino, a 1985 film set in Nicaragua during the Sandinista regime, received a special award at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Controversial in nature, these films reveal Wexler’s rebellious spirit that continues to push him as an artist.
“Woodstock is identified with the spirit of that historic concert. The film festival continues the sound and images of those rebel artists of the 1960s… rebels who tell stories artfully and honestly,” Wexler explains. “I am very appreciative of my Woodstock honor.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Wexler at the Woodstock Film Festival Award Ceremony on Saturday, October 4th, 2008.