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2023 Gotham Awards to Present Ben Affleck’s Air With The Gotham Visionary Icon & Creator Tribute

by The Gotham Staff on October 16, 2023

The Gotham Awards Will Take Place in NYC on Monday, November 27, 2023

New York, NY (October 16, 2023) – The Gotham Film & Media Institute announced today that AIR, the Amazon MGM Studios sports dramedy directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Ben Affleck, will receive The Gotham Visionary Icon & Creator Tribute at the 33rd annual Gotham Awards Ceremony, taking place live and in person on Monday, November 27, 2023 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Nominees for the Gotham Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 24th. 

The Icon & Creator Tribute was created for this year’s Gotham Awards in order to recognize cultural icons and the filmmakers responsible for bringing that icon’s story to life. With the Visionary Icon & Creator Tribute, The Gotham will honor both the visionaries behind the Michael Jordan partnership and celebrate Ben Affleck’s superb film that so compellingly brings this story to life.  

“Both gripping and hilarious, AIR is a deeply refreshing reminder to the film industry that audiences respond to smart, original narratives,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. “By capturing the dramatic story behind the most monumental partnership in the history of sports marketing, the film highlights the power of knowing your worth and using that knowledge to take the right risks. We are privileged to honor both the story behind a legend and the AIR team who brought that story to life with the Visionary Icon & Creator Tribute.”

Set in 1984, AIR reveals the inspiring story behind the game-changing partnership between then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s struggling basketball division, which completely disrupted the industry with the creation of the revolutionary Air Jordan brand. 

Michael Jordan has been called the biggest pop culture hero in American history – someone who transcended not just his sport but race, class, and generations. His rise from humble beginnings – a North Carolina boy who didn’t make the grade for his high-school team, the son of a bank employee mother, and a General Electric plant supervisor father – made him the embodiment of the American Dream. In signing with Nike rather than more successful rivals Converse or Adidas, Michael would receive points on each pair sold. That deal would change the way sports, and sports stars, were marketed around the world forever.

When the Air Jordan 1 was first launched on April 1st, 1985, Nike expected to sell 100,000 pairs in its first year. Instead, it shipped 1.5 million pairs in the first six weeks. The Air Jordan 1 was revolutionary both for its striking looks and for the deal struck by the Jordan family. Michael’s mother, Deloris Jordan was instrumental in constructing the unprecedented deal. Her unwavering belief in her son ultimately protected his legacy and altered the future of athlete endorsements. By 1997, the Jordan Brand had become its own subsidiary, and by the time Jordan retired in 1998, Nike accounted for 40 percent of sneaker sales in America. Jordan instantly helped turn around a struggling shoe manufacturer’s fortunes, while also revolutionizing how sneakers are designed, marketed, and released. The inspiring true story is brought to life with the careful care of Director Ben Affleck and nuanced performances from an all-star cast, including Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, Julius Tennon and Viola Davis.

Following a premiere at South by Southwest in March, Amazon MGM released AIR globally in partnership with WB International in April, and is now available exclusively on Prime Video. This is the first film produced by Affleck and Damon’s newly launched production company Artists Equity, alongside Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures.

Winners of the 33rd annual Gotham Awards will be honored at the awards ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, November 27th. The Premier Sponsor of the 2023 Gotham Awards is Vanity Fair. Cadillac will serve as the Official Vehicle and FIJI Water will serve as the Official Water for the Awards. 

About The Gotham Film & Media Institute

The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition. The organization, under the leadership of Executive Director and award-winning producer Jeffrey Sharp, fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Gotham Week, Gotham Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Awards, Gotham EDU, Owning It, and Expanding Communities.

About the Gotham Awards

The Gotham Awards, one of the leading honors for independent film and television, provides early acknowledgement to groundbreaking independent films and television series. Selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, the Gotham Awards are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that The Gotham Film & Media Institute does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

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