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CONTACT: Chandra Knotts, Deputy Press Director chandra@woodstockfilmfestival.com or 845-679-4265

As Recipient of 2013 Honorary Meera Gandhi GIVING BACK AWARD
Nair to accept award and participate in special talk with Academy Award-winning film composer Mychael Danna

Woodstock, NY (August 2013) – The Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) is proud to announce acclaimed filmmaker and activist Mira Nair as this year's honorary recipient of the 3rd annual Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award, which will be presented to Nair in person on Saturday evening, October 5 at WFF's annual Maverick Gala at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY.

"I'm happy with the unexpected honor," Nair says. "To have my work be recognized as one that is unafraid to show that the path to peace is complicated - that makes it more than a 'normal' award. I have to hope that films can have some way of entering our hearts and minds - after all, we have only one life, and if we close our eyes to the world, what is the point? I believe in peace, I strive for it. To achieve peace, we must learn to see the world through the eyes of the other."

Mira Nair at the Mississippi Masala to Vanity Fair
panel at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival
Photo credit: Alan Carey

In addition to accepting the award, Nair will participate in the annual BMI-sponsored Music For Film chat at the festival along with Mychael Danna, the Academy-Award winning film composer who recently won Best Original Score for his work on Life of Pi. In the past, Danna has worked with Nair on her feature films Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair. Danna also worked with Nair on her segments in the 2009 film New York, I Love You. The discussion will be moderated by Doreen Ringer-Ross, the Vice President of Film/TV relations at BMI.

The Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award, now in its third year, annually honors a director, producer or actor who best delivers a message of social change and exhibits a strong compassion for philanthropy. Past recipients of this award have included actors Tim Blake Nelson and Mark Ruffalo. The partnership between the Woodstock Film Festival and The Giving Back Foundation demonstrates the commitment that both organizations have in support of humanitarian efforts through the art of film. In addition to the award, a cash prize of five thousand dollars will be given to benefit Nair's continued philanthropic efforts.

"Mira Nair is one of the icons of Bollywood and a very caring humanitarian who is an inspiration to The Giving Back Foundation," said Meera Gandhi, CEO and Founder, in regard to the award honoree. "I am thrilled that she is the recipient of the 2013 Giving Back Award. Her devotion to the education of young people in the film industry personifies the mission of the Giving Back Foundation."

The Giving Back contribution Nair recieves will go towards Maisha Film Lab in Eastern Africa, a filmmakers' training lab founded by Nair in 2004 that provides the tools, education and platform necessary for East African film artists to establish themselves and build a self-sustaining film industry. Maisha now operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda with hands-on intensives in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, editing, sound recording and acting.

"We are delighted to present the Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award to her namesake, filmmaker Mira Nair," says WFF co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. "We have long admired Mira's work in film and out there in the trenches. It is our privilege to acknowledge her generous spirit and creative force."

The Maverick Gala will take place on October 5th at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston in front of over 500 independent filmmakers, industry professionals and guests in attendance. For tickets to this year's Gala event, click HERE.

2012 award honoree Tim Blake Nelson with Meera Gandhi of The Giving Back Foundation.
Photo credit: Anjali Bermain

This year's festival will take place from October 2-6 in Woodstock, NY and the neighboring towns of Kingston, Saugerties, Rhinebeck and Rosendale. Stay tuned for the announcement of additional honorary award recipients as well as more news on the upcoming festival events and lineup by following WFF on social media as well as keeping up to date with our official website at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.

Mira Nair is the rare, prolific filmmaker who moves fluidly between Hollywood and independent cinema. After several years of making documentary films, Mira Nair made a stunning entry on the world stage with her first feature, Salaam Bombay! (1988), the first Indian film to win the Camera D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Nair used the profits from the film's debut to create the Salaam Baalak Trust for India's street children. In 2012, Mira Nair was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s distinguished honour for work in the arts.

Nair's most recent film is The Reluctant Fundamentalist, based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid. She is currently in production of the stage musical of her film, Monsoon Wedding, due to open on Broadway in 2014.

For more information on Mira Nair and her body of work, visit MIRABAI FILMS and MAISHA FILM LAB.


About the Woodstock Film Festival:
Hailed by Indiewire as "A true American Maverick Among Fests" and praised by actor Ethan Hawke as "among the finest of a dying breed: a festival that isn't trying to sell you anything, but simply and beautifully celebrating the art & craft of filmmaking", the Woodstock Film Festival premiers exceptional films, hosts the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry; presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating, innovative programming year-round.

The Woodstock Film Festival is a non-profit, 501c3 with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity.

The Woodstock Film Festival will celebrate its 14th Annual Festival October 2-6, 2013, with an extraordinary line-up of fiercely independent films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties.

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