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Eagle-Con 2021 to Honor Critically Acclaimed Talents George Takei, Wynn Thomas and Nnedi Okorafor
By Sentinel News Service
Published March 11, 2021

Wynn Thomas (File Photo)

Actor, activist and Eisner winner, George Takei, headlines the honors at this year’s Eagle-Con, a virtual sci-fi and fantasy conference hosted by Cal State LA and the Art Directors Guild.

This year’s Eagle-Con theme, “Possibilities Imagined Here,” celebrates diversity and addresses accessibility, underrepresentation and pushing boundaries in science fiction and fantasy genres over a series of three days, March 11-13.

Takei (Star Trek, They Called Us Enemy) joins celebrated production designer, Wynn Thomas (“Mars Attacks!,” “Hidden Figures”) and best-selling author, Nnedi Okorafor (the “Binti trilogy,” “Black Panther: Long Live the King”) as this year’s awardees. They have long been barrier breakers for other writers and artists, building impressively varied careers that have impacted millions.

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Takei will be honored with the Prism Award for outstanding contributions to diversity in science fiction and fantasy across media on March 12, Thomas will be presented the Imaginator Award for wondrous achievement in visual conceptualization on March 13 and Okorafor will receive the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award on March 11.

Takei is a social justice activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Times bestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality. His advocacy is personal: During World War II, Takei spent his childhood in United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. He now serves as chairman emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and, in 2004, was conferred with the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to the U.S.-Japan relations. In 2016, Takei received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Cal State LA.

Nnedi Okorafor (File Photo)

Wynn Thomas is the first African American production designer in the history of films. As a production designer, Thomas has worked with some of the most important film directors of the late twentieth century, including Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Barry Levinson, Harold Ramis, and Tim Burton. Wynn has been production designer on such landmark films as “Hidden Figures (2016), “Mars Attacks!” (1996), “Da 5 Bloods (2020), “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), and “Do The Right Thing (1989). He has been a proud member of United Scenic Artist (local 829) for 35 years. He is the first African American production designer to become a member of the Art Directors Guild in Los Angeles and the first African American nominated for the Art Director’s Guild award for his design work on Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! He is a proud member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This year’s free event also features an online exhibition spotlighting the work of Art Directors Guild members including the work of Imaginator Award honoree Wynn Thomas, with drawings from movies such as Mars Attacks!Hidden Figures and Get Smart.

Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of science fiction and fantasy for both children and adults. Her works include “Who Fears Death” (in development at HBO as a TV series), the “Binti” novella trilogy (in development at Hulu as a TV series), “The Book of Phoenix,” and the “Akata series and Lagoon.” She is currently adapting Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed” for TV with Amazon Studies. She is the winner of Nebula, World Fantasy, Eisner, and multiple Hugo Awards and her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker, which won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

Eagle-Con is co-founded by the College of Arts and Letters and the University-Student Union at Cal State LA and the Art Directors Guild. Together they work to educate the students of Cal State LA and members of the Greater Los Angeles community about the history, impact and continued necessity of the contributions of women, BIPOC, the LGBTQIA-identified, the differently abled and the variously aged to the science fiction and fantasy genres.

To attend and view the full schedule, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/eagle-con-3-day-experience-tickets-143842810719.

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