George Pelecanos Tribute at LAGFF 2023
LAGFF is proud to announce that novelist, screenwriter, film and television producer, George Pelecanos, will receive the 2023 Honorary Orpheus Award at the Festival’s Opening Night Ceremony on June 3rd on the UCLA campus in the James Bridges Theater in collaboration with the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture. Pelecanos’ longtime collaborator, producer and former HBO Executive, Kary Antholis, will be on hand to present the award.
On June 4th, George Pelecanos will offer a masterclass hosted by Los Angeles City College for the benefit of aspiring filmmakers and film students.
The event is produced by writer/director Fay Efrosini Lellios, a longtime collaborator of George Pelecanos and a friend of LAGFF.
George Pelecanos photo by Alexa King
George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C. He worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman’s shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992. Pelecanos is the author of twenty-one books set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick’s Trip, Shoedog, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil, Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, Hard Revolution, Drama City, The Night Gardener, The Turnaround, The Way Home, The Cut, What It Was, The Double, The Martini Shot and The Man Who Came Uptown. He has been the recipient of the Raymond Chandler award in Italy, the Falcon award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. Hell to Pay and Soul Circus were awarded the 2003 and 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The Turnaround won the Hammett Prize for literary excellence in the field of crime writing. His fiction has appeared in Playboy, Esquire, and the collections Unusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories of 1997, Measures of Poison, Best American Mystery Stories of 2002, Men From Boys, and Murder at the Foul Line. He served as editor on the collections D.C. Noir and D.C. Noir 2: The Classics, as well as The Best Mystery Stories of 2008. He is an award-winning essayist who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, GQ, Sight and Sound, Uncut, Mojo, and numerous other publications. Esquire magazine called him “the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world.” In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King wrote that Pelecanos is “perhaps the greatest living American crime writer.” Pelecanos would like to point out that Mr. King used the word “perhaps.” Pelecanos was a producer, writer, and story editor for the acclaimed HBO dramatic series, The Wire, winner of the Peabody Award, the AFI Award, and the Edgar. He was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on that show. He was a writer and co-producer on the World War II miniseries The Pacific, and was a writer and Executive Producer on the HBO series Treme. He co-created and was showrunner on HBO’s The Deuce. His most recent show for HBO was the limited series We Own This City, on which he served as co-creator, writer, and showrunner. He was a producer and director of DC Noir, a feature film he wrote based on his short stories. Pelecanos lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and wherever he is shooting film. He is at work on his next project.
Kary Antholis (Honorary Orpheus Award presenter) founded Crime Story Media, LLC in July 2019, after retiring as President of Miniseries and Cinemax Programming at HBO. Under the Crime Story banner, Antholis has served as Executive Producer on the limited series Black Bird (Apple TV+, Dennis Lehane), We Own this City (HBO, George Pelecanos, David Simon), the Emmy-nominated documentary The Slow Hustle (HBO) and the hit podcast series, Firebug and Jury Duty. In over 25 years as a creative executive at HBO, Antholis oversaw Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning projects, including Chernobyl, Angels in America, Olive Kitteridge, John Adams, The Pacific, The Night Of. Antholis began his film career as a documentarian, winning an Academy Award and an Emmy for his film One Survivor Remembers, which was also the first HBO program added by the Librarian of Congress to the National Film Registry, an honor given to “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant American films.
Joe Petricca (masterclass moderator) is a filmmaker, educator, and storyteller. He teaches film and directing in Los Angeles at LACC (Los Angeles City College), Art Center College of Design and Art Division. He serves as the Chief Academic Officer for the International Academy of Film and Media in Bangladesh. He has taught screenwriting and film production around the world. His screenplay, A Trip to Rome, has received two screenplay festival prizes from the 100 Screenplays Competition and the Toronto LGBTQ Festival. His treatment Rico and Rafa won the Oaxaca Film Festival in 2022. Petricca’s short film, A Meditation, starring Harold Perrineau, has played at over 35 film festivals internationally and picked up five awards. Recently, he has curated a film series Life’s Banquet: Food in Films in support of the upcoming exhibition All Consuming: Art and Essence of Food at the Norton Simon Museum. And he has guest-curated photos and videos about the Los Angeles River for the Instagram account @LARiverX. Petricca served as the Executive Vice Dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory. In 2007, Petricca received a Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms from the French Government for contributions to French Cinema in Los Angeles. He received his BFA in Film Production from NYU and his MFA in Screenwriting from AFI, where he received the top screenwriting honor – The Program for Screenwriters Award.
Fay Efrosini Lellios (Tribute Producer) is a graduate of Boston University and the American Film Institute, Fay Lellios worked for many years at both Merchant Ivory Productions and Paramount Pictures. She has written, directed and produced several films and documentaries in the U.S., Cuba and Greece with her longtime Producer, George Pelecanos. She is currently at work on her feature comedy, Mouzo, with Co-writer/Co-director, Ersi Danou, and developing a series on famed children’s writer, Penelope Delta. Fay’s last three live-action shorts all Oscar-qualified.