We sat down with Academy Award Winner Forest Whitaker to talk about his new movie The Butler.
FOREST WHITAKER (CECIL GAINES)
Forest Whitaker is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and is the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. Whitaker is also a talented, versatile performer and one of Hollywood’s most accomplished figures. He has received prestigious artistic distinctions including the 2007 Academy Award® for Best Actor for his performance in The Last King of Scotland as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He has also received the BAFTA Award, SAG Award, and Golden Globe® for Best Actor. In addition, Whitaker received the Best Actor for Bird at the Cannes Film Festival.
Whitaker has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work over the past decade. His social awareness has compelled him to seek ways of using the film medium as a means to raise peoples’ consciousness. He produced the award-winning documentary Kassim the Dream,
which tells the poignant story of a Ugandan child soldier turned world championship boxer, Rising From Ashes, which profiles Genocide survivors of the Rwandan war who have risen from wooden bicycles to competing in the Olympics, Serving Life, which focuses on hospice care for prisoners at Louisiana’s Angola Prison, and the Emmy nominated and Peabody Award-winning Brick City, which takes a look at inner-city life in Newark, New Jersey.
In 2007, Whitaker received the Cinema for Peace Award for his selfless and ongoing advocacy for child soldiers, as well as his work with inner-city youth. He was also awarded the Humanitas Prize in 2001. In 2008, he served as a member of the Urban Policy Committee and currently sits on the board of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Whitaker serves as a Senior Research Scholar at Rutgers University, and a Visiting Professor at Ringling College of Art and Design. In 2011, Whitaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. In this role, he works towards global peace building through anti-violent education, research, training and community building. In recognition of his commitment as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and for his outstanding contribution to the work of the Organization, Whitaker received in December 2012 the United Nations Correspondents Association Advocate of the Year Award. In 2013, Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center appointed Whitaker as a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellow.