Artists Rights Foundation honors helmer

Milos Forman will receive this year’s John Huston Award from the Artists Rights Foundation, honoring the filmmaker’s efforts in advocating the rights of artists around the world.

Woody Harrelson, who stars as the title character in Forman’s “People vs. Larry Flynt,” made the announcement of the foundation’s choice during a ceremony at the Directors Guild of America on Thursday.

‘A visionary’

“I look at Milos as something of a visionary,” he said. “His style on the set is unique, but what his films say is also unique.”

Forman has made passionate appeals to Congress to support artists rights legislation — including the labeling of altered works — and has been a strong advocate of the Berne Treaty, which gives authors of works the right to object to alterations of their works after their release.

Forman will be the foundation’s fourth honoree, following Fred Zinnemann, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. The ceremony will take place on April 18 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Forman won a Golden Globe this year for directing “Larry Flynt,” but was not nominated for a DGA Award.

Meanwhile, there has been somewhat of a backlash against the movie, with ads placed in trade papers reprinting a New York Times editorial by Gloria Steinem that characterized the movie as degrading to women.

“Hopefully the Academy won’t be taking that too seriously, and I don’t think the film is a glorification of Larry Flynt,” Harrelson said of the protest. “If you want to know how bad Larry Flynt is, watch ‘Biography’ or call Larry himself and he will tell you. … The hero of this film is the First Amendment and freedom of speech.”

The Artists Rights Foundation, in honoring Forman, noted that “Flynt” marked “a resurgence of a theme common in Forman’s films and, indeed, in his work with the Artists Rights Foundation — the struggle of the individual against the restrictions of the establishment.”

The foundation once again will hold the Intl. Artists Rights Symposium at the DGA on April 17 and 18. Among those scheduled to participate are Forman, director Alan Parker, Fine Line Features’ Liz Manne, Judge Alex Kozinski, Alan Dershowitz, Jack Valenti and Rocket Science Games’ Michael Backes.

Meanwhile, officials are narrowing their search for a new executive director to succeed Keith LaQua.

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