“Paris is Burning” to receive Cinema Eye Legacy Award

Paris Is Burning (pictured), Jennie Livingston's doc classic about New York City drag ball culture, will receive the Cinema Eye Honors Legacy Award next month, with screenings following at Sundance and Hot Docs.
December 16, 2014

Jennie Livingston’s classic documentary Paris is Burning (pictured) is to receive the Legacy Award during the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking next month.

The influential film, which is about the world of New York City drag ball culture in the mid- to late-1980s, won several awards around its release in 1991, including a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Livingston, who was a film student at New York University when she started work on the doc, will be on hand to accept this latest award during Cinema Eye’s inaugural Honors Lunch on January 6.

In related news, a new digital restoration of Paris is Burning, created from the original 16mm elements, will screen during the Sundance Film Festival in January. The restoration returns the doc to its original uncropped aspect ratio and was undertaken by the Sundance Institute, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and UCLA Film & Television Archive, with permission from distributor Miramax.

Paris is Burning opened the doors onto the exuberant world of vogue culture in NYC on the eve of the AIDS epidemic,” said Cinema Eye board chair Andrea Meditch in a statement. “The film’s intimate, empathic focus on the struggles and joys of trans and gay culture is just as transformative today as it was nearly 25 years ago when it premiered.”

Canadian festival Hot Docs will host a special screening of Paris is Burning during next year’s festival as part of a partnership with Cinema Eye.

Now in its sixth year, the Legacy Award honors classic films that have inspired subsequent generations of non-fiction filmmakers. Past winners include Grey Gardens, Harlan County USA and Titicut Follies. Cinema Eye is a multi-day, multi-city event that recognizes the best in non-fiction film and culminates in an annual awards ceremony on January 7.

Check out the list of nominees here.

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Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.