We show you today a picture we just received from The Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences of the great movie star and our friend, Gena Rowlands, and famed director, Spike Lee—both of whom were recognized on Saturday by The Academy with Governors Awards.
Gena, together with her husband John Cassavetes pioneered a new in motion pictures: The Independent Film.
John and Gena decided one day not to simply act in other people’s films, but to make their own. Together they ushered in such films as:
Shadows—which won a Critic’s Award at the Venice Film Festival
A Woman Under the Influence—for which Gena earned an Oscar for Best Actress and John earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director
Gloria—for which Gena earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress
Husbands—starring John with Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara
Faces—which was nominated for 3 Academy Awards
Minnie and Moskowitz—for which John was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy
Opening Night—for which Gena won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival
Gena says—about the struggles they had producing these films—
There wasn’t anybody doing it. Everything was done through the studios. But we did it on our own. When we ran out of money, we paid for our own pictures by acting for others or mortgaging our home [you can read more about it in an article here.]
They really did pave the way for a lot of independent films, ourselves included when The Theatre Guild produced the 1969 movie, Slaves—but more about that next time!
Congratulations Gena on your Governors Award and for all that you have done in your career!