LOS ANGELES - The Cinema for Peace Foundation announced today that Academy Award-winning actor, filmmaker and founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, Ben Affleck, will be honored with the Cinema for Peace Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Gala for Humanity on January 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Each year since 2002, Cinema for Peace gives the Humanitarian Award to an individual and his or her organisation who has demonstrated the foresight, courage and leadership required to take a stand against extreme injustice, intolerance and inequalities.
At the gala in January, Cinema for Peace will recognize 25 individuals and initiatives from the world of film in six categories: charitable giving, advocacy, protecting the environment and its people, Hurricane Sandy relief, as well as founders and partners of the organisation. The Eastern Congo Initiative will be the beneficiary of Cinema for Peace's highest honor, the Cinema for Peace Humanitarian Award.
More than five million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996, making it the worst modern humanitarian crisis area in the world. Recently, the violence has escalated tenfold due to the rebel militia taking control of Goma, the economic center and capital. As a result, more than 230,000 families have been displaced in North and South Kivu - equivalent to the population of Hollywood and Santa Monica combined. The need for aid is at an all-time high.
"The Eastern Congo Initiative is the first US-based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of Eastern Congo," said Jaka Bizilj, Founder of Cinema for Peace. "The Cinema for Peace Foundation is pleased to honor Ben Affleck for his courageous efforts to raise awareness about this terrible catastrophe and his brave stand against the injustices experienced by the Congolese. We are proud to support their work by providing desperately needed financial resources."
Hollywood Foreign Press Association President, Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly, will open the 2013 Gala for Humanity with a special introduction on how film can be a powerful tool for messages of humanity.
The HFPA is officially supporting the Cinema for Peace 2013 Gala for Humanity and its members are also attending.
Chairs of the 2013 Gala for Humanity include Claire and John Cauldwell, Roland Emmerich, Veronica Ferres, CindyHensley McCain, Jeff Robinov, Cathy Schulman, Bryan Singer and Jeff Skoll. Co-Chairs include Christian Angermayer, Elmar Biebl, Jaka Bizilj, Ted Braun, Rosilyn Heller, Philip Morros and Oliver Prock.
Sponsors of the 2013 Gala for Humanity include Participant Media, Film Germany House AG, Salus Alpha and Francis Ford Coppola Wines.
The gala in 2012 raised more than $5 million (S$6.14 million) on the eve of the Golden Globes and the two-year anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti. All proceeds went to the J/P Haitian Relief Organisation. The gala was supported by Oprah Winfrey who gave a matching offer of $2.5 million, Haiti's President Martelly, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Mel Gibson, Hilary Swank, Salma Hayek with Francois-Henri Pinault, Orlando Bloom, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian, Jeremy Irons, Luc Besson, Josh Brolin, James Gandolfini and Bill Maher as a host.
This past year, Cinema for Peace has opposed war and genocide with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the annual Gala in Berlin and with the creation of the Genocide Film Library. In 2012, Cinema for Peace has also supported the fight against climate change, hosted the official farewell to the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and welcomed his successor in The Hague, honored Muhammad Ali in London and organised his historic farewell at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games and has served as an advisor to the UN Security Council and several governments and ministries around the globe, among other activities.