AP NEWS

Eva Longoria Bastón and Bobby Walker Jr. to be honored at Greenwich International Film Festival

April 15, 2019

GREENWICH — The Greenwich International Film Festival has never lacked for star power and now one of Greenwich’s local stars is going to be a part of it.

When the festival returns in June for its fifth year it will again have its Changemaker Gala to honor those who have used their positions to create positive social change. And one of those awards will go to Bobby Walker Jr., CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich.

He will be honored alongside film and television star Eva Longoria Bastón, who is best known for her time on Desperate Housewives and will be seen later this year in the Dora The Explorer movie. The gala to honor them both will be held on May 30 at L’Escale and the black-tie event will be preceded by a cocktail reception at Betteridge Jewelers.

Festival co-founder Wendy Stapleton said she was thrilled that Longoria Bastón and Walker would be receiving the Changemaker Awards.

“Eva is a committed advocate for underserved communities,” Stapleton said. “Her philanthropic track record is formidable and she has worked to advocate for women, the Latina community, people with disabilities, children with cancer, farmworkers and more. She will be accepting the award based on her work to educate and provide opportunity for Latina women and girls. Eva understands the power of her celebrity and has leveraged it time and again to help those less fortunate.

And when it came to Walker’s work in town, where he has been head of the club since 2014, Stapleton said, “Bobby Walker is the incredible leader of The Boys and Girls club of Greenwich. Through his tireless work he has helped to make our community a better, more inclusive place. Bobby and Eva embody what it means to be true changemakers.”

Previous Changemaker Awards have gone to names like Harry Belafonte, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, Trudi Styler and more. And the Greenwich International Film Festival has made it a point in recent years to focus on local names too with its Community Changemaker Award.

Last year, the festival honored Duncan Edwards for his work at the Waterside School, an independent school serving children and families regardless of limitations in income or circumstance. And in 2017, Greenwich Country Day’s Andrew Niblock was honored for his work in education as he battles ALS.

As part of the award, both the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and the Eva Longoria Foundation will be beneficiaries of the festival, which is a non-profit, 501(c)3 that has celebrated both film and philanthropy since its inception. The club provides invaluable after-school and summer camp services that cover everything from athletics to mentorship and the Longoria Foundation was created to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich has been a partner of the festival and their office is even located across the street from the club. It has hosted the opening night party several times, which has allowed the club to play host to huge music stars like Lauryn Hill and Flo Rida. And now it will be Walker’s turn to enjoy the spotlight.

On Monday, after the announcement was made, Walker recalled how he had been meeting with Stapleton and festival Executive Director Ginger Stickel about the plans for the 2019 programming and at the very end of their talk they sprung the news on him.

“It was a very nice surprise,” Walker said. “When I think about changemakers I think about people who have dedicated their lives and their resources to making the world a better place and I never thought of myself as a changemaker. I’m doing the work I love here.”

Walker stressed it was going to be a shared award, one where he would be happy to give credit to everyone working at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and all the kids who attend there.

“We are a team,” Walker said. “Everything we do, we do together and we all do it for the kids.”

In a statement, Longoria Bastón said she was honored by the award.

“It bridges two aspects of my life that I’m passionate about: impactful philanthropy and phenomenal film,” Longoria Bastón said. “The Greenwich International Film Festival’s commitment to gender parity furthers our shared vision of equal and diverse representations of women in media. The festival goes beyond film to promote the important work of organizations like the Eva Longoria Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich that are making a difference in our communities.”

Earlier this month, festival announced that its fifth anniversary party on June 1, Kesha, the award-winning singer and songwriter, will perform a special concert for attendees. The party, which will be held at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester will also have a performance from DJ April Larken and feature actress Connie Nielson, best known for movies like Gladiator and Wonder Woman, to present awards for the festival’s films in competition.

The full slate of films that will be screened at the festival is set to be announced on May 3 at 6 p.m. at Richard’s on Greenwich Avenue. The announcement is free and open to the community.

The festival will take place from May 29 to June 2 and tickets are on sale at www.greenwichfilm.org.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com