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RICHARD JENKINS TO RECEIVE RIIFF's

2008 George M. Cohan Award

Acclaimed Actor/Director to Receive Recognition at this Year's Film Festival for Serving as a Rhode Island Ambassador for the Arts


jenkinsPROVIDENCE, RI: Every year, the Rhode Island International Film Festival recognizes outstanding directors, actors, and film talent for their contributions to the art of filmmaking. This year, the spotlight turns to an outstanding artist whose work, passion, and drive epitomizes a level of excellence which reflects creatively on their Rhode Island roots.  The Award: The George M. Cohan Ambasador Award. Named after famed Providence entertainer George M. Cohan, who was born on the 4th of July, this award honors truly unique Americans who have made a timeless contribution to the arts and have inspired future generations of Rhode Islanders. The recipient for 2008: Actor/Director, Richard Jenkins.

 

The award will be presented on Saturday night, August 9th at 7:00 p.m., prior to the screening of "Side By Each," directed by Rhode Island resident, Richard Allen of Bristol. The location will be the Columbus Theatre Arts Center, 270 Broadway, Providence. A special pre-awards reception will take place at Gallezy Z, prior to the presentation.

 

“Throughout his exceptional career, Mr. Jenkins has brought a unique and independent voice to the film industry through a vast body of work that reflects the values associated with George M. Cohan and celebrated with this award,” said RIIFF’s George T. Marshall. “Mr. Jenkins represents the best of Rhode Island and is a source of great pride.”

 

Richard Jenkins has become one of the most in-demand character actors in Hollywood. Though he has worked steadily since the early '80s, Jenkins may have made his most memorable impression, at least to HBO subscribers, as the patriarch of the family of undertakers on the hit 2001 drama “Six Feet Under.” His character was killed off in the first episode, but Jenkins continued to appear as a spirit lingering in the family's memory -- a good metaphor for the actor's lingering impact on viewers, even when he appears in small roles.

 

Jenkins, who shares the birth name of Richard Burton, was born and raised in Dekalb, IL, before studying theater at Illinois Wesleyan University. The actor developed a long and distinguished regional theater career, most notably a 15-year stint at Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Theater, where he served as artistic director for four years. He snagged his first role as early as 1975, in the TV movie “Brother to Dragons,” but did not begin working regularly until a small role in the Lawrence Kasdan film “Silverado” (1985). Supporting work in such films as “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986), “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987), and “Sea of Love” (1989) followed, and Jenkins spent the early '90s specializing in made-for-TV movies, including the adaptation of Randy Shilts' AIDS opus “And the Band Played On” (1993).

 

jenkins2It was not until the late '90s that Jenkins started gaining wider appreciation, especially as he indulged in his talent for comedy. His appearance as an uptight gay FBI agent who gets accidentally drugged was one of the highlights of David O. Russell's “Flirting With Disaster” (1996), allowing him to convincingly (and riotously) act out an acid trip. Working again with Ben Stiller, Jenkins appeared as a psychiatrist in “There's Something About Mary” (1998), which launched a relationship with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who hail from Rhode Island where Jenkins did much of his stage work. Jenkins appeared in the Farrelly-produced “Outside Providence” (1999) and “Say It Isn't So” (2001), as well as in the Farrelly-directed “Me, Myself & Irene” (2000). The actor then shifted over to another set of brother directors to portray the father of Scarlet Johansson's character in Joel and Ethan Coen's noir “The Man Who Wasn't There” (2001). His most recent turn in “The Visitors” (2007) has thrust him into the spotlight for his nuisanced and emotionally complex performance.


The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) is dedicated to the creation of opportunities for artistic interaction and exchange among independent filmmakers, directors, producers, distributors, backer, and the film-going community. Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Providence Mayor David M. Cicilline, and Congressman James Langevin serve as honorary chairs to this year’s event. During the 2008 event, 289 films will be presented.


The Rhode Island International Film Festival is supported in part by the City of Providence, the Providence Tourism Council, the Providence Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism, WJAR TV10, The Providence Phoenix, Clear Channel Communications, Sony, SAG/INDIE, HB Communications, CVS, NewEnglandFilm.com, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Amtrak, URI's College of Arts and Sciences, URI's Feinstein College of Continuing Education, the URI Film Media Program, Rule Broadcast/Boston Camera, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Art New England Magazine and contributions from members and community supporters. 


The Flickers Arts Collaborative, which created and produces RIIFF, is a non-profit organization with over 25 years of experience presenting major artistic events as well as independent and foreign films to the public, produces RIIFF.

 

• HOTLINK TO PURCHASE A TICKET FOR THIS EVENT •

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To purchase tickets or obtain more information about any aspect of RIIFF, please call 401-861-4445; or write RIIFF, 268 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903; email info@film-festival.org.