An interview with Mario Van Peebles


Internationally acclaimed film star Mario Van Peebles has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement in Cinema by the Montana International Film Festival.

“I think when we’re at our best, we represent something that other people see that inspires them,” Peebles told me in an interview before being presented the award. “But it’s not really about us personally as individuals – It’s about what we are bringing out.”

The award was presented Sept. 16 during opening night of MINT, a Billings-based film festival. Peebles is an international star of film with 108 actor credits, 51 director credits, and 15 producer credits, described by Montana Film Commissioner Allison Whitmer as an acclaimed filmmaker and triple threat as a director, writer, producer, and “just a really nice guy.”

“This year is special for us because we have an opportunity to recognize an individual who has countlessly displayed determination and sacrifice with an unbridled commitment to his craft,” said Murnion, presenting Peebles the Lifetime Achievement Award during the opening film on Friday, where audiences gave Peebles a standing ovation.

A self-described filmmaker “trying to bring a little consciousness,” Peebles said this effort of inserting consciousness into his work happens through curiosity and empathy toward others and “finding our commonalities.”

“Beyond my plasticity as a Black man in America, what can I show us about us that takes us in and goes, ‘I got it. I feel something for other folks.’ … Connect the dots, and that’s a fun challenge of it, and I hope that is a part of what this award says.”

The full interview has been published at MINT Film Festival.

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