The Carl Foreman Award
The Carl Foreman Award at Ringling College
Ringling College of Art and Design’s Film program was officially selected in spring 2023 as the new home of The Carl Foreman Award. This award will honor a singular achievement by a graduating Film or Creative Writing student in screenwriting, directing, or producing. The award winner will receive a unique, purpose-designed award together with a check for $5,000.
The award was originally created by Evelyn “Eve” Williams-Jones in 1983 in conjunction with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in memory of her late husband Carl Foreman (1914-1984), a prolific screenwriter, director, and producer. Its winners include Joe Wright, Amma Asante, Belinda Bauer, Asif Kapadia, and Steve McQueen. BAFTA still gives an award in Foreman’s honor, but under a new namesake of the interdisciplinary Award for Outstanding Debut.
The annual Carl Foreman Award at Ringling College will be decided based upon students’ senior year work. A diverse and independent jury of six under a chairman will be formed, as was the case with the original BAFTA Carl Foreman Award. It will include creative professionals, senior Ringling faculty, Ringling alumni, and cinema-going members of the public.
The Carl Foreman Award will be recognized as a cornerstone of the Film program’s student recognition initiatives. The annual award will be launched to coincide with the 2023-24 academic year and will continue for at least 10 years.
Carl Foreman was nominated for six Oscars over his career including for The Guns of Navarone and High Noon. Blacklisted in 1951 during production of High Noon, he was forced to leave the United States and restart his creative career in the United Kingdom.
As an American, he was given the rare honor of becoming Head of the UK Writers Guild and was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the late Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to cinema.
In 1957, Foreman won for the screenplay of Bridge on the River Kwai but as he was a blacklisted writer at the time, the Academy of Motion of Picture Arts and Sciences withheld granting the award. It was only after his death and due to the perseverance of his widow, Evelyn and with considerable support from Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, and others that the Academy finally relented and issued his Oscar in 1984. Two of his films are in the AFI’s Top 100 movies of all time.
Foreman’s High Noon screenplay was widely interpreted as an allegory for the infamous blacklist that took place in Hollywood at the time and the film’s backstory serves as a reminder of the power of art to reflect social and political issues, whilst at the same time honoring its audiences by being genuinely entertaining.
Eve, together with her husband Michael Williams-Jones, formerly president of United Artists International and CEO of United International Pictures, have brought the Carl Foreman award to its new home in Sarasota, at Ringling College. Through the award, they hope to continue the legacy of recognizing outstanding student work in the film industry.