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Arizona State University names film school after Sidney Poitier

Arizona State University names film school after Sidney Poitier
Actor Sidney Poitier (Photo credit: / Paul Smith, Featureflash)

Veteran actor Sidney Poitier is getting his flowers while he’s still alive as Arizona State University named its new film school after him. According to The Associated Press, the university is expanding its existing film program into its own school and that it has invested millions of dollars in technology to create what’s intended to be one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film programs.

“What we’re doing here is not just recognizing Sidney Poitier for his lifetime of achievements and his legacy, but naming our New American Film School for a person that embodies that which we strive to be — the matching of excellence and drive and passion with social purpose and social outcomes, all the things his career has stood for,” said ASU President Michael Crow in a statement.

Poitier also shot his classic film, Lilies of the Field, in Arizona in 1963. He would go on to receive an Oscar the following year for his performance and became the first Black actor to win an “Best Actor in a Leading Role.” Some of his other classic materials include The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun, In the Heat of the Night and Uptown Saturday Night.

“Arizona State University is deeply committed to the premise of inclusivity, and The Sidney Poitier New American Film School is an extension of that impact in an area of academic pursuit that will be advanced by representation of greater diversity and perspective,” Crow added.

Poitier, now 93, also made history starring in the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The film was controversial at that time because it was about an interracial relationship.

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