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WASHINGTON – Is there a more famous filmmaker than Steven Spielberg?
Surely, other names come to mind for their greatness — Welles, Ford, Hitchcock, Fellini, Scorsese.
But if you ask any mom or dad on the street, “What’s your child doing with that digital camera?” the answer will most certainly be, “He’s trying to be the next Spielberg.”
The name has become popular short-hand for “director.” Perhaps this is because the Amblin man has done it all, from smash blockbusters like “Jaws” (1975), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) and “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” (1982), to Oscar-winning period pieces like “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) and “Lincoln” (2012).
Next Tuesday, you can add another accolade to the list, as Spielberg receives the Foundation for the National Archives’ 2013 Records of Achievement Award. It’s given to individuals whose work has fostered a broader awareness of U.S. history and identity through the use of original records.
To paraphrase Indiana Jones, “Spielberg belongs in a museum!”
Past winners include Tom Brokaw and Ken Burns. The latter will help present the award, along with David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, and Patrick Madden, executive director of the Foundation for the National Archives.
To celebrate the upcoming event, the National Archives is hosting the Steven Spielberg Film Festival, offering free screenings at the Archives all weekend.
The series kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. with the World War II masterpiece “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).
It continues Saturday with a pair of flicks, starting with “E.T.” in a noon matinee for the whole family.
Later that night at 7 p.m., the Archives will screen the slave-ship drama “Amistad” (1997).
The series concludes Monday at 7 p.m. with “Lincoln” (2012), which earned Daniel Day-Lewis a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the 16th President of the United States.
In fact, Lincoln’s legacy inspired the timing of this Spielberg honor, as the award will be given Tuesday, Nov. 19 — the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
That reception is invite only, but be sure to check out the free screenings at the Archives. Tickets will be handed out at the Special Events entrance at the corner of 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Seating is limited, so you should arrive 60 minutes prior to showtime.