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Fort Lauderdale Honorees
The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) launches on Friday evening with a three week marathon of premieres, special events, chic soirees and a number of tributes to celebrity guests. Actress Penelope Ann Miller, best remembered for her roles in such films as CARLITO’S WAY, CHAPLIN and KINDERGARTEN COP, will receive a Career Achievement Award on Saturday evening at the gala screening of her new film THE ARTIST. This contemporary black and white silent film by French director Michel Hazanavicius has been a critical and audience favorite on the festival circuit since its world premiere debut last May at the Cannes Film Festival.
Also being honored that evening is actor Dennis Haysbert, an “actor’s actor” best known to audiences for his role as the black gardener in 1950s suburbia in Todd Haynes’ homage to the oeuvre of melodramatist Douglas Sirk, the award-winning FAR FROM HEAVEN. Haysbert, who also played the first African-American President of the United States on the popular television hit series 24, will receive a Career Achievement Award honoring his unique contributions to acting on the big and small screens.
FLIFF has a long history of bringing “living legends” to its event. This year, the Festival is honoring an actress whose body of work has been an inspiration to her peers and a touchstone for aspiring thespians looking to make careers in the film business. Piper Laurie has been a working actress since her breakthrough in live television in the 1950s. In her 60 year career, she has played an astonishing mix of roles for which she has received Oscar and other nominations. She is perhaps best remembered for her Oscar nominated turns as an alcoholic playing opposite Paul Newman in THE HUSTLER (1961), her religious zealot of a mother to the telekinetic Sissy Spacek in the horror classic CARRIE (1976) and the school superintendent at a deaf college in the drama CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD (1986). For her television work, she has received an astounding 14 Emmy nominations. She will be honored in Fort Lauderdale with a Lifetime Achievement Award on November 8 at a special screening of THE GRASS HARP (1995), followed by an on-stage interview and party in her honor.
Another accomplished actor being honored at FLIFF is Beau Bridges, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the screening of his new film DON’T FADE AWAY, also starring Ryan Kwanten and Mischa Barton. Bridges, the son of actor Lloyd Bridges and the brother of Oscar winner Jeff Bridges, has been acting since he was a young boy. His most memorable roles include his turns as an idealistic young man in Norman Jewison’s period film GAILY, GAILY (1969), the new owner of a ghetto apartment building in the Hal Ashby race relations satire THE APARTMENT (1970), Oscar winner Sally Field’s working class husband in NORMA RAE (1979), the concerned husband of a race car driving wife in the biopic HEART LIKE A WHEEL (1983) and his only co-starring gig with his brother Jeff Bridges, the breezy dramedy THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (1989). His television work in both series and movies-of-the-week has garnered him a slew of Emmys, Golden Globes and other accolades. He will be seen later this year opposite George Clooney in the new Alexander Payne film THE DESCENDANTS.
Other honorees during the Festival include Senator George McGovern, a unique statesman and former Presidential contender, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement in Humanity Award on October 22 at a special screening of the Oscar-winning film ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN; Larry Mullen Jr., the rock musician-turned-actor, who will receive the Star On The Horizon Award on November 1 for his big screen debut in the crime drama THE MAN ON THE TRAIN; Dennis Farina, whose film and television work has been distinguished for over three decades, who will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the November 5 screening of his new film THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY; and Peter Ford, the son of screen legends Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell, who will autograph his new book, Glenn Ford: A Life, following a tribute screening of one of his father’s favorite films, the Western classic 3:10 TO YUMA. For more information on these and other events beginning in Fort Lauderdale this weekend, visit: www.fliff.com
Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor
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