Award Year

Our seventh Coolidge Award program, honoring acclaimed director Jonathan Demme, offered something for everyone — everyone who loves compelling movies, amazing music, and insightful entertainment.

The 7th Coolidge Award

On Monday, March 1, 2010, Jonathan Demme arrived in Brookline for Coolidge Award Festivities. Events over the two days included:

  • A screening & discussion of The Agronomist. Proceeds from this screening went to the non-profit group Partners in Health ( in support of their earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

  • A live performance by Robyn Hitchcock, the subject of Demme's concert film Storefront Hitchcock.

  • A special preview screening of Neil Young Trunk Show, introduced by Demme.

  • A screening and panel discussion of Melvin and Howard. The panel was moderated by NPR's Elvis Mitchell and featured Demme, cinematographer Tak Fujimoto, music editor Suzana Peric.

  • The Coolidge Award Ceremony, hosted by screenwriter Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married). On hand to fete Demme were best-selling mystery author Walter Mosley, actor/performance artist Bill Irwin, cinematographers Declan Quinn and Tak Fujimoto, Pulitizer-prize winning playwright Beth Henley, reggae star Sister Carol East, and influential cult film producer, Roger Corman.  The ceremony also included the reading of a letter from actress Anne Hathaway and the screening of a video tribute from screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, expressing their regrets at not being able to attend, but extending heartfelt accolades to their favorite director.

  • Coolidge Award repertory screenings included: Stop Making Sense, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs, and Rachel Getting Married.

About Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme began his film career in the early 1970s working with producer Roger Corman. Throughout that decade he is credited as a co-writer and producer for several of Corman’s productions and as director of three films (Caged Heat, Crazy Mama andFighting Mad). In 1980 Demme directed Melvin and Howard and received widespread critical acclaim. Throughout the ‘80s he went on to direct movies celebrating both critical and commercial success, including Swing Shift, Something Wild and Married to the Mob. During that same period he also directed the groundbreaking Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense and the Spaulding Grey performance film Swimming to Cambodia. In 1991 Demme won the Academy Award for Best Director (The Silence of the Lambs), which also swept the Oscars that year taking all the major categories – Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Actor. Two years later he released Philadelphia, which won star Tom Hanks the Best Actor Oscar. His feature films also include the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate and Rachel Getting Married (2008).

Throughout his prolific film career, Jonathan Demme has also established himself as a committed documentary filmmaker. Off of the creative success of Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia, Demme went on to make Haiti: Dreams of Democracy, The Agronomist, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, and Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains. The most recent full-length collaboration, Neil Young Trunk Show, premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.