John Sayles to Receive 2012 Duke LEAF Award April 21

Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Sayles, a pioneer of the independent film movement of the 1970s, will receive the 2012 Duke LEAF Award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts.

An original “do-it-yourselfer,” Sayles wrote and directed the critically acclaimed “Return of the Secaucus Seven” (1979) on a shoestring budget of $40,000. He followed with 16 other films he wrote and mostly edited, including “Matewan” (1987), and the Oscar-nominated films “Passion Fish” (1992) and “Lone Star” (1996). His latest work is “Amigo” (2010).

“John Sayles’ work subtly, but compellingly — and at times with humor — interweaves environmental themes and conflicts with themes of human conflict and struggle,” said Nicholas School Dean William L. Chameides. “Ultimately, Sayles makes us aware on a visceral as well as intellectual level of our strong material and spiritual connection to the natural world and, in the process inspires people to value and steward our environment.”

Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment will present the award to Sayles during a 2 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 21, in Reynolds Theater, located in the Bryan Center on West Campus.¬†Sayles will meet with MFAEDA’s for an informal lunch/discussion before the awards ceremony on Saturday.


The awards ceremony is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and will be distributed through the Duke Box Office. There are charges associated with online ticket reservations and will call. More information is available at

The Duke LEAF award has been given annually since 2009 to an artist whose work has lifted the human spirit and inspired others to help forge a more sustainable future. Previous recipients are Robert Redford, Jackson Browne and Barbara Kingsolver.

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