Fantastic Fest: Roger and Julie Corman Lifetime Achievement Award

The king and queen of the Bs get the royal treatment.

Roger and Julie Corman
Roger and Julie Corman (by John Anderson)

Roger Corman has been known as the "King of the Bs" for so long now that it was a something of a dream come true to see the man and his wife and longtime producing partner Julie Corman wielding a wicked-looking 50" broadsword atop the stage of the Paramount Theater Friday night.

Presented to the Cormans by film writer Elvis Mitchell and Machete Maidens Unleashed director Mark Hartley, the official Syfy Imagine Greater Fantastic Fest Lifetime Achievement Award looked anything but cheap; apart from being aesthetically pleasing on a truly Cormaniac scale, the sword award also doubles as a fine piece of utilitarian edged weaponry. Nice!

The giddy, packed-to-the-rafters Fantastic Fest crown offered up a standing ovation to King and Queen Corman as Mitchell sang the praises of the ultra-influential pair and spoke to their influence on not only genre filmmaking, but also the art of cinema as a whole:

"[Roger Corman] is a citizen of the world. He was born in Detroit and I was born in Detroit, where, by the way [gesturing towards the award] this would be a bread knife.

"I want to compare Roger to Berry Gordy, another great man from Detroit, because like Berry Gordy, Roger took what was a maligned form, the low-budget film, and made it matter in the world, and changed the world with it.

"And, like Berry Gordy, Roger wouldn't do anything that he wouldn't demand of himself. He's a great filmmaker and, like R&B, his great films, his best films, are about obsession, be it X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes or Little Shop of Horrors. Okay, that's about a guy obsessed with a plant, but that's still obsession. Like Berry Gordy and Motown, Roger knew how to pick talent. You imagine that this is a guy who had John Sayles and James Cameron work together on Battle Beyond the Stars...that's a man who knows how to pick talent.

"Most importantly, like Berry Gordy and Motown, Roger recognizes the wealth of talent in one's own family. I can't be up here and not say a few words about one of the most overlooked talents in film, and that's of course Julie Corman.

"[Julie] was responsible for working on so many of the films that changed the image of women not just in front of the camera but behind the camera as well. [If not for her] there wouldn't be a Gale Anne Hurd, which means that we wouldn't have a James Cameron. I think she's continually undervalued for nurturing and the tough work she did. Tribute is paid."

Cue standing ovation and a star-struck Tim League sporting, as Mitchell noted, an old Tom Wolfe suit. Absolutely fantastic.

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Roger Corman, Julie Corman, Sharktopus, Fantastic Fest

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