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Palm Springs Film Fest Gala To Honor Rock´s U2


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A lineup that already includes more ‘A’ list movie stars than any gala in the 25-year history of the Palm Springs International Film Festival just got a little more impressive with the announcement that the rock band U2 will receive the Sonny Bono Visionary Award Saturday at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The award is traditionally introduced by gala honorary chairwoman Mary Bono, widow of the festival founder and award namesake. So it could be a case of, “Mrs. Bono meet Mr. Bono,” lead singer of the band being considered for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

“We normally present the Sonny Bono Visionary Award to a director,” festival chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement, “but for our 25th anniversary we wanted to take the occasion to celebrate U2, a visionary group and the world’s premier rock band, for their unparalleled humanitarian work against extreme poverty, disease and social injustice. Their latest song ‘Ordinary Love’ from the film ‘Mandela' is an ode to Nelson Mandela … whom the band worked with in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.”

The gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen, Thomas Newman, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and the cast of “American Hustle,” including Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, who are expected to attend.

But U2 could take the acceptance speeches up a notch with Bono’s history of oratory and writing for print. He gave a legendary introduction to Frank Sinatra for his lifetime achievement award at the 1994 Grammys, and he recently wrote a moving tribute to Mandela in Time Magazine.

“Ordinary Love” is the band’s first single in three years. The film’s producer, longtime Mandela friend Anant Singh, inspired Bono by sending him the love letters Mandela wrote to his wife Minnie from his prison cell on Robben Island. The song plays over the biopic’s credits.

Bono, who pronounces his first syllable with a short ‘O’ while Mary Bono pronounces her first syllable with a long ‘O,” was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, 2005 and 2006 for his philanthropy. He was named Time Person of the Year with Bill and Melinda Gates in 2005.

U2 was named to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility in 2005, and they have won 22 Grammy Awards, most recently for Album of the Year for “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” in 2006. The band was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2003 for “The Hands That Built America” from “Gangs of New York” but lost to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” The song won the Golden Globe that year.

“Ordinary Love” has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Song.

Matzner said Bono has confirmed his appearance at the gala, but it should be learned this week if the other band members — The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. — will attend.

The Palm Springs festival runs Friday through Jan. 13 at venues throughout the city. The gala is sold out.

 

From: The Desert Sun

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U2's Bono speaks out on Nelson Mandela and HIV/AIDS intervention at Palm Springs gala

 

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As part of the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's awards gala Saturday night, rock superstars U2 were recognized with the organization's Visionary Award, the first time the honor has not gone to a filmmaker. The band, whose original song "Ordinary Love" is featured in the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" have long been associated with activism, particularly in the realm of AIDS intervention and awareness (a cause dear to Nelson Mandela's heart), and in accepting the honor with bandmate Edge at the Palm Springs Convention Center, lead singer Bono took the opportunity to speak at length about the work being done domestically and internationally. What follows is the entirety of his speech.

I guess this is an award for not shutting up and sticking to what you're good at. This is kind of an award for being a pain in the arse, isn't it? That's what this is. And we do understand that people find it insufferable when artists stray out of their box, but for a lot of us in this room, that is the definition being an artist, straying out of your box.

It is worth mentioning that more people live off their imaginations in California than any other place in the world. No other geography comes close. People around here like to ask questions about the real as well as the imaginary world, and this, of course, is the start of being annoying. Demanding answers is when you upgrade to the proper pain in the arse status of the activist, although some people here have managed to do the activist thing without being annoying. I am of course thinking of Jane Fonda. How could you not? I'm thinking of Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice." Steve McQueen has challenged intolerance his entire career. Idris Elba, Naomie Harris were activists long before they took on the giant lives of the Mandelas. Julia Roberts, before she took on "Erin Brockovich," she was an activist and is an activist, and an extraordinary movie star, the definition of, I would say. And we'd like to pause for a minute to consider our Chairman, Tom Hanks, and his stigma-defying, game-changing role in "Philadelphia." And what Matthew McConaughey has done again now in "Dallas Buyers Club." Extraordinary performances.

HIV/AIDS has stolen so many lives in this country. 650,000 to be exact, and 23 million lives outside of this country. What people like Harvey Weinstein and groups like amfAR did for the domestic AIDS problem, ONE and RED and many others are trying to do for the global AIDS crisis. Our one simple belief is that where you live should not decide whether you live.

Now our leader in this campaign lost a son to the disease. His name was Nelson Mandela, the greatest activist of them all. His genius was a refusal to hate, not because he hadn't experienced rage, but because he thought love would do a better job. His cleverness was to put aside tribalism and partisanship, the kind of partisanship, I think you'll agree, that has betrayed this great nation and the great American idea at the heart of it, even in the last couple of years. It's ironic that by following an African's example, American and European AIDS activists like ONE were successful in encouraging Democrats and Republicans here in the US to put aside their differences and work together on what is turning out to be the largest health intervention in the history of medicine. Thank you, America.

You probably don't know this, but there are now 10 million lives in the developing world saved by antiretroviral therapy, and American taxpayers have paid for about three quarters of them. Thank you, America. 7.8 million sentient souls are alive because of AIDS drugs that the United States of America paid for, and they are not just alive, but allowed to thrive, to have healthy kids, to be alive to raise those kids, to work, to contribute to their economies. And we're at the tipping point — amazing to be able to say this — we are actually at the tipping point if we keep up the pressure. We are within reach of declaring the first AIDS-free generation. What a thought. What a thought for this community. And it's down to the activism of this generation, actors, directors, producers, musicians, but also students, doctors, nurses, priests, NASCAR drivers, soccer moms, CEOs, NGOs, politicians, people who just don't normally hang out together not just hanging out together but working together. And that's what it takes.

Edge and myself have had our mind and our values shaped by some important books and scribes, but for us, in truth, it was movies and music that kindled that fire and put our imaginations on a course to meet you tonight. So thank you to the visionaries in this room, and you all know that a vision without a promise is just a fantasy, and we're not interested in that. Thank you and good night.

 

From: Hit Flix

 

More photos at Zimbio.

 

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