Director Euzhan Palcy honored by SACD

The SACD—Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs [Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers]—have chosen Martinican director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy as the recipient of the SACD Medal of Honor on Monday, June 13, 2022. Here is the announcement from their site:

A pioneer of cinema honored by the authors

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SACD, will present on Monday June 13, 2022, the Medal of Honor of the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers to director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy, first female director and first black artist to receive a César Award. This distinction created by the Board of Directors of the SACD is intended to honor the talent and the corpus of work by an author.

Chaired by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the ceremony will take place at the headquarters of the SACD in the presence of members of the Board of Directors of the SACD, Pascal Rogard, Director General of the SACD and President of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity and Patrick Raude, General Secretary of the SACD.

A journey of passion and commitment

Born in Martinique in 1958, French director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy discovered her passion for cinema at the age of fourteen. Indeed, it was at this age that Euzhan Palcy read the novel La Rue Cases-Nègres by Joseph Zobel, a book that would fuel her desire to become a filmmaker. She then made the promise that she would one day adapt this story to the big screen, a story that spoke to her for the first time of an environment and characters that she recognized and that she wanted to [translate] into images.

In 1975, after the self-taught making of the TV film La Messagère, she left for mainland France to continue her studies at the École Louis Lumière. She performed assistantships or editing work for big names in cinema. In 1981, the National Film and Moving Image Center (CNC) awarded her an advance on earnings, making her the first filmmaker from the Caribbean to benefit from this award. She then shot Rue Cases-Nègres in Fort-de-France, thanks to the decisive help of Aimé Césaire, then mayor. In 1983, Euzhan Palcy fulfilled her promise as a teenager with the theatrical release of Rue Cases-Nègres, which became a great success. In 1984, the 25-year-old director became the first female filmmaker to receive the César for her first film. Rue Cases-Nègres won nearly 20 international awards.

Buoyed by this success, in 1989 Euzhan Palcy left for the United States to direct A White and Dry Season, a film about Apartheid in South Africa, which made her the first black director to be produced by a major Hollywood company and the first woman to direct Marlon Brando. The film was a success and earned her an Oscar nomination in 1990. She directed several other projects in the United States and France, ranging from fiction to documentary, including in 1994 a documentary triptych on Aimé Césaire, in 2007 a fiction on the colonial period on the island of Reunion Les Mariées de l’Isle Bourbon, or the documentary Parcours de dissidents in 2010. Winner of numerous awards and distinctions, the inspired and inspiring journey of Euzhan Palcy is an example for new generations of authors and authors, for which Jean-Pascal Zadi paid tribute to her when she won her César for Tout simplement noir in 2021.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original article (in French), see

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