IPA News Item

Alive Inside The Camera: Director Robert M. Young Nabs Auteur Award

  • Los Angeles, CA, December 1, 2015Whether it’s living with traditional Eskimos,trekking 400 miles with rebels during the Angola war, or filming with 1,000 extras, director Robert M. Young’s specific passion for filmmaking is being recognized this year as the International Press  Academy (IPA) honors him with the 2015 Auteur Award.

    Robert M. Young was born in the Bronx. His father Al Young, a filmmaker, was founder of DuArt Film Labs in New York City. His father wanted him to be involved in the family business and therefore he studied chemical engineering at MIT. At 18 he left MIT during the WWII to join the Navy and spent two years as a photographer in New Guinea and the Philippines. In the 50’s he formed a small cooperative to make documentary films while in Harvard College.

    Young became interested in making films about creatures of the sea. Secrets of the Reef (1956) was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year. It was producer Merian C. Cooper, charismatic creator of King Kong (1933), who took Bob under his wing, became a mentor and had a lasting impression on Young’s filmmaking ethic. From the vantage point of reality-shooting, the New York native went on tsuch diverse narrative films and television as 1964’s Nothing But a Man winning Venice Film Festival’s Primo San Giorgio and the City oVenice Prize (with Michael Roemer), about racial discrimination, said to be Malcom X’s favorite movie. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”; Alambrista! (1978), made possible by a Guggenheim Fellowship which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes; The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1983); Extremities (1986, Farrah Fawcett); and Dominick and Eugene (1988, Tom Hulce, Ray Liotta). Other awards and accolades include a Peabody for J.T. (1970); an Emmy for The Eskimo: Fight For Life (1970) and two George Polk Memorial awards for Sit-in (1960) and Angola: Journey to war (1961); as well as a Hillman Prize and the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Foreign Reporting.

    “I often create reality situations and then move inside it with the camera. It’s like I want the camera work to be a correlative of the situation,” Young once explained in the DGA’s Highlight series. “The best thing about directing is that I don’t think I’m ever more alive than when I’m really directing, and it’s goingand I’m in touch.” 

    Later Young turned his talents to the IMAX, Panda: The China Adventure (2000) and Battlestar Galactica (2004-06). His other credits include Cortile Cascino (1961) and the Oscar Nominated  follow-up to this movie about a slum in Palermo, where the same families were revisited 32 years later in the powerful Children of Fate: Life and Death in a Sicilian Family (1993)Short Eyes (1978); Rich Kids (1979); One Trick Pony (1980); Triumph of the Spirit (1989); Talent for the Game (1991); Roosters (1993); Solomon and Sheba (1994); Slave of Dreams (1994); Caught (1996); William Kurelek’s The Maze (2011). He is also a long-term collaborator with Edward James Olmos, for projects like American Me (1992), among others.

    Watching Bob work his belief in putting the camera where the story is and allowing ‘situation’ to breath life has been the most rewarding artistic experience I’ve been privileged enough to take part in,” said Edward James Olmos. ”A genius in documenting human behavior whether it be in fact or fiction has made his work timeless and mesmerizing. It has been a total blessing spending the last 40 years by his side.

    IPA President Mirjana Van Blaricom, whose connection to the director dates back to the former Yugoslavia’s Brave New World Film Festival, noted that “Bob Young’s film Alambrista! screened in Belgrade in 1978. Then Caught was among our first honorees in 1996 at the then-titled Golden Satellite Awards for lead actor Arie Verveen as Best Newcomer. Twenty years later, it is gratifying to see an artist with such vision and energy collect the Auteur Award.” 

    Past recipients of the International Press Academy’s Auteur Awards include: Guillermo del Toro, Roger Corman, Martyn Burke, Paul Williams, Baz Luhrmann, Julian Schnabel, Robert Altman and George Clooney. A complete list of award show details can be found on www.satelliteawards.org, the official site of the IPA Satellite awards.