Lee is present in Cannes as president of the competition jury.
The AFI World Peace Initiative and the Better World Forum will honor Brown and Lee as iconic pioneers for their body of work promoting inclusion, diversity and social justice, and laud Brown for race-relations drama “Son of the South,” which was released this year.
The prizes to Lee and Brown will be presented at the Better World Fund Gala on July 12 in Cannes. They will be handed over by Better World Forum founder and president Manuel Collas de Laroche and Forum ambassador H.R.H. Princess Angelique A. Monet.
Brown will additionally receive the Embrace Award at the AFI World Peace Initiative — World Peace and Tolerance awards ceremony the following day, July 13.
“To see (my) work recognized and to receive this from an organization that is dedicated to such good work as the U.N.-affiliated AFI World Peace Initiative is, for me personally, very meaningful,” said Brown.
Brown was born in the U.K. but grew up in the Deep South of the U.S. He edited classic Lee films including “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “Crooklyn,” “He Got Game,” “25th Hour,” and “Inside Man.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for his first film as director, doc “The War at Home” (1979).
Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” premiered in Cannes in 2018 and received the Grand Jury Prize. It later earned five Oscar nominations including best picture, best editing and won best adapted screenplay.
“Son of the South” is based on Bob Zellner’s autobiography “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.” It is a fact-based story set in Montgomery, Ala., where a Klansman’s grandson must choose which side of history to be on during the Civil Rights Movement. Starring Lucas Till, Lucy Hale, Lex Scott Davis, Cedric the Entertainer and Julia Ormond, it was written and directed by Brown with Lee as executive producer.
It premiered last year at the American Black Film Festival and was released in February this year by Vertical Entertainment.
“Barry Alexander Brown has a body of work that is entertaining, enlightening and enriching. Honoring him during Cannes Film Festival is truly imperative because of his latest film, ‘Son of the South,’” said Princess Monet in a prepared statement.
“Barry’s body of work is impacting our new generation with an action plan, and an understanding of modern-day non-violent movements. His art is reflecting change just as the Freedom Riders did for the Civil Rights Movement. His ongoing efforts with the Freedom Riders National Monument, since the film’s release, are truly heroic.”
The Better World Endowment Fund comprises a team of experts, influencers and activists from business, academia, media, and entertainment. At Cannes, its objective is to set out specific actions, platforms, initiatives for women’s rights and to campaign for climate adaptation, sustainable energies and the blue economy.
The A.F.I. World Peace Initiative is given consultative status, with the United Nation’s ECOSOC program promoting peace and under-represented people. It has been present at Cannes on nine occasions and previously honored other Hollywood figures including Danny Glover, Ron Perlman, Graham Greene, Jeff Bridges and the late Peter O’Toole.