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Ben Affleck directorila breakthrough saluted at Hollywood Awards

The 11th Annual Hollywood Film Festival's Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony, will take place on October 22, 2007, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Oscar(r)-winner Ben Affleck will be honored with the "Hollywood Breakthrough Director of the Year Award," Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly will receive the "Hollywood Supporting Actress of the Year Award," and producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will receive the "Hollywood Producers of the Year Award."

The "Hollywood Awards" will be bestowed upon the honorees during the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 22, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Festival. Said Mr. de Abreu, "It is an honor to recognize the great work of Jennifer Connelly, Ben Affleck, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan at this year's festival."

Others who will be honored at this year's Hollywood Film Festival include the cast of "Hairspray" for ensemble acting, Casey Affleck and Marion Cotillard for breakthrough acting, Christopher Hampton for screenwriting, Stephen Goldblatt for cinematography, Joe Hutshing for editing, Mark Isham for film composing, Dante Ferretti for production design, Brad Bird for animation and Scott Farrar for visual effects.

Oscar(r) winner BEN AFFLECK makes his directorial debut this year with "Gone, Baby, Gone," scheduled for release October 19 from Miramax Films. The screenplay was written by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, adapted from Dennis Lehane's novel of the same name. "Gone, Baby, Gone" is about an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a little girl by two young private detectives (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) who soon discover that nothing is what it seems and they will have to risk everything to find her. The film also stars Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris.

Last year, Ben Affleck received critical acclaim for his portrayal of George Reeves in Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland," which also stars Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins. Affleck received honors from the Venice International Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. In 1997, Affleck co-wrote "Good Will Hunting" with Matt Damon. The screenplay brought them an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as a Golden Globe Award, and a Humanitas Prize. The two also starred in director Gus Van Sant's acclaimed film, which received a number of honors, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Ben Affleck's other films include "Smokin' Aces," written and directed by Joe Carnahan; Roger Michell's "Changing Lanes"; Ben Younger's "Boiler Room"; John Madden's Academy Award-winning "Shakespeare in Love"; Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused"; Mike Binder's "Man About Town"; Mark Steven Johnson's "Daredevil"; Phil Alden Robinson's "The Sum of All Fears"; John Woo's "Paycheck"; Michael Bay's "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor"; Mark Pellington's "Going All the Way"; several movies for writer/director Kevin Smith, including "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma"; and Bronwen Hughes's "Forces of Nature."

Academy Award-winning actress JENNIFER CONNELLY continues to prove her versatility as an actress with each new project she undertakes. Connelly can next be seen in Terry George's "Reservation Road" opposite Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo and Mira Sorvino. The film will be released October 19 by Focus Features. In addition, Connelly's vocal talents will be heard in Shane Ackner's upcoming animated film "9," also for Focus Features, along with John C. Reilly, Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.

Jennifer Connelly received a Golden Globe, Broadcast Critics and Academy Award for her role in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind." She most recently starred in Edward Zwick's "Blood Diamond" opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. Her other film credits include Todd Field's "Little Children," Walter Salles's "Dark Water," Vadim Perelman's "House of Sand and Fog," Ang Lee's "Hulk" and Ed Harris's "Pollock."

Jennifer Connelly was widely praised for her haunting portrayal of a drug addict in Darren Aronofsky's critically acclaimed "Requiem for a Dream." The role earned her an Independent Spirit Award Nomination. She is also well known for her roles in Keith Gordon's, "Waking the Dead," Pat O'Connor's "Inventing the Abbotts," Lee Tamahori's "Mulholland Falls," John Singleton's "Higher Learning," and Joe Johnston's "The Rocketeer." Connelly's first film was Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America."

NEIL MERON and CRAIG ZADAN produced this summer's smash hit musical comedy "Hairspray," from New Line Cinema and directed by Adam Shankman, with a stellar ensemble cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walker, Amanda Bynes and Queen Latifa. They are also producers of Rob Reiner's upcoming dramatic comedy "The Bucket List," which stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. From Warner Bros, "The Bucket List" is about two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and go off on a road trip with a wish list of things they want to do before they die. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan's upcoming productions include "A Raisin in the Sun" for ABC Television.

Prior to "Hairspray," Meron and Zadan's producing skills were instrumental in the colossal success of Miramax Films' Academy Award-winning musical "Chicago," directed by Rob Marshall, which received thirteen Oscar(r) nominations and won six, including Best Picture. Prolific producers of musicals in Hollywood for the past fifteen years, Meron and Zadan brought "Gypsy," starring Bette Midler, to CBS Television in 1993 and followed that with such other television versions of theatrical musicals as "Cinderella," "Annie" and "The Music Man." Neil Meron and Craig Zadan met in 1975 and worked primarily in theater. Craig Zadan produced the film Footloose in 1984. With Zadan's second feature, Sing, in 1989, Neil Meron served as co-producer. Starting with "If Looks Could Kill" in 1991, they've been a full-fledged producing team and are partners in Storyline Entertainment based in Los Angeles. Their TV movie credits include "Wedding Wars," "Empire" (miniseries), "Suburban Madness," "The Reagans," "Lucy," "Martin and Lewis," "Brian's Song," "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," "The Beach Boys: An American Family" and "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," among others. They have received 7 Emmy nominations for their work.

Prior years' Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony nominees, honorees and presenters have been a virtual "who's who" of Hollywood's A-list talent and executives, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Maria Bello, Annette Bening, Halle Berry, Orlando Bloom, Matthew Broderick, Sandra Bullock, Chris Columbus, Cameron Crowe, Russell Crowe, Penelope Cruz, Billy Crystal, Benicio Del Toro, Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Clint Eastwood, Emilio Estevez, Rupert Everett, Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Haggis, Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, Anthony Hopkins, Ron Howard, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Greg Kinnear, Ashton Kutcher, Laura Linney, Lucy Liu, George Lucas, Michael Mann, Rachel McAdams, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Sam Mendes, Demi Moore, Mike Myers, Michael Pena, Joaquin Phoenix, Sydney Pollack, Keanu Reeves, Susan Sarandon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Scorsese, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, Quentin Tarantino, Charlize Theron, Robert Towne, John Travolta, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, and Robin Williams, among many others.

The festival and awards presenter is Starz Entertainment, LLC, a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz(r) and Encore(r) brands with approximately 15.8 million and 28.2 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Starz On Demand and VongoSM. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group.

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