The Tallgrass Film Association today announced that film legend and 70’s cinema icon, Pam Grier, will be this year’s recipient of the Ad Astra Award during the 16th edition of the Tallgrass Film Festival Presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 17-21) in Wichita, Kansas.
Tallgrass Film Festival’s Program Director Nick Pope said, “Pam Grier is someone that Tallgrass has sought to bring to Wichita and honor for the longest time. She is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. A prime inspiration both for an entire genre’s mainstream success, a muse for multiple filmmakers, and an inspiration and trend-setter for many actors and filmmakers that followed, it will e the biggest thrill to welcome her and celebrate her career.”
Tallgrass will present the Ad Astra Award to Grier at the Orpheum Theater (200 N Broadway Street) followed by a “Conversation on Film” prior to a screening of her classic film directed by Quentin Tarantino, JACKIE BROWN, on Thursday, October 18 at 6:30PM. The special evening will conclude with a late-night screening of one of Grier’s 70s staples, COFFY, at Roxy’s Downtown (412 E. Douglas Avenue) at 11:15PM.
TALLPass holders have access to the ceremony & both screenings– tickets to individual events will be $10 (GA) for the public. ($10 for Ad Astra/Jackie Brown, $10 for Coffy)
Born on May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Pam Grier was spotted by an agent at a beauty contest in Colorado Springs, who invited her to come to Hollywood and try her hand at acting. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes while she worked as a switchboard operator for American International Pictures. Soon after, she had made it onto the big screen in BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970) and BIG DOLL HOUSE (1971.)
Following appearances in HIT MAN (1972) and BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1973), Grier gained notice in Jack Hill’s COFFY (1973) as the title character, “the baddest one- chick hit-squad that ever hit town.” The next year, she cemented her status as the undisputed queen of urban cinema as the high-class prostitute out for revenge in Hill’s FOXY BROWN (1974.)
70s Cinema Icon, Pam Grier
Grier solidified her status as a film star throughout the 70s with a string of films including SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (1973), SHEBA, BABY (1975), BUCKTOWN (1975) with Fred Williamson, FRIDAY FOSTER (1975), and GREASED LIGHTNING (1977) opposite Richard Pryor. The 80s were highlighted by FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (1981) with Paul Newman, the Ray Bradbury classic, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983), and the Steven Seagal actioner ABOVE THE LAW (1988), as well as regular turns on the television via Michael Mann’s “Crime Story” and “Miami Vice.”
COFFY, ESCAPE FROM L.A.
Grier continued to work in both film and television throughout the 90s with memorable appearances in John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM LA (1996) and Tim Burton’s MARS ATTACKS (1996). However, it was Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN (1997) that offered the actress an opportunity to play a character tailor-made for her unique brand of strength and charisma, resulting in the best critical notices of her career as well as her first Best Actress nominations for both a SAG Award and the Golden Globes. Roles in the thriller IN TOO DEEP (1999) and Jane Campion’s HOLY SMOKE (1999) immediately followed, as well as a reunion with Carpenter on his film GHOSTS OF MARS (2001). Grier became a very familiar sight on television as well, with appearances on several series culminating in a regular stints on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2002-2003) and Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009). On the big screen, Grier has most recently been seen in Tom Hanks’s LARRY CROWNE (2011), Rza’s THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012), and last year’s BAD GRANDMAS, and ROSE.
For more information on the Tallgrass Film Festival, please visit tallgrassfilmfest.com for more information.