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Eastwood to Receive Spirit of Independence Award at LA Film Fest

Film Independent announced today that Academy Award(R)-winning actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood will receive this year's Spirit of Independence Award at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival. The Spirit of Independence Award will be given to Eastwood at a special event on Thursday, June 28, sponsored by Target. Tony Bennett, who is the focus of a new documentary for which Clint Eastwood serves as executive producer, will present Eastwood with this honor.
The Spirit of Independence Award event is an opportunity for emerging filmmakers to hear Eastwood speak about his work, his creative process, and his influences. The 13th Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, June 21, running through Sunday, July 1, 2007.

"Clint Eastwood has been called an icon, a maverick, a legend, and every superlative in between, yet it's utterly impossible to encapsulate the talents and accomplishments of his independent spirit and his singular vision for honest storytelling," said Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of Film Independent. "We are thrilled to celebrate this remarkable artist for his independent voice and daring career choices that have been an inspiration for filmmakers and film lovers alike."

"We're so proud to be announcing this year's Target Filmmaker awards alongside Clint Eastwood, whose very work embodies the creativity that Target supports," said Laura Sandall, Director, Target Events Marketing and Publicity.

The Spirit of Independence Award was created to recognize and honor an individual who has remained true to their work and vision; someone who has consistently made and continues to make artistic choices regardless of difficulty; someone who has dared to think differently; and someone who stays true to their independent spirit through their work in the independent and studio worlds. Eastwood's unusual and varied choices reinforce his commitment to groundbreaking and innovative independent films. He exemplifies a true independent spirit.

As part of this evening honoring Clint Eastwood, a work in progress highlight of "Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends" will be presented. The documentary about Bennett is a continuation of a body of documentary films developed and made under Eastwood's direction and guidance that includes "Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser," "Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall," "Clint Eastwood's Piano Blues," and "Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That." These documentaries are similar in nature to the Tony Bennett documentary in that Eastwood appeared on camera with the likes of Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, and Quentin Tarantino. The Bennett documentary will include an intimate conversational interview with Eastwood and Bennett, as well as archival footage and never-before-seen performance footage. Set for release later this year, "Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends" will be the definitive portrait of the Tony Bennett legacy - his life and career. The film is being produced and distributed by Netflix, with Clint Eastwood serving as Executive Producer. The film is directed and produced by Bruce Ricker and edited by Joel Cox.

The winners of the Target Filmmaker Awards will also be announced at the Spirit of Independence Award event. Committed to supporting new talent in the film industry, the Festival and Target through their partnership are able to award two promising directors with the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Documentary Feature, which each carry an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize funded by Target. Target established these two grants because they believe in supporting the arts and art education, including the art of independent filmmaking.

Steve Collins received the 2006 Target Filmmaker Award for his dramatic feature film, Gretchen. Amy Berg received the 2006 Target Filmmaker Award for her documentary, Deliver Us From Evil. Deliver Us From Evil recently received an Academy Award(R) nomination for Best Documentary.

The inaugural Spirit of Independence Award was presented to George Clooney in 2005, with Charlize Theron receiving last year's honor. The Festival is proud to add Clint Eastwood to this list of immensely talented and deserving artists.


Held annually in June, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival showcases the best of American and international cinema over the course of ten days. Drawing a diverse audience of over 80,000 people, more than 100 feature films - narrative and documentary - are screened at the Festival, alongside gala premieres, panels and seminars, free outdoor screenings, Family Day, and live musical performances.

The Festival also features unique signature programs including the exclusive Filmmaker Retreat and the Spirit of Independence Award ceremony and gala. Additionally, the Festival screens short films created by high school students and has a special section devoted to music videos.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Los Angeles Film Festival is widely recognized as a world-class event, providing the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, scholars, critics, film industry professionals, and emerging talent around the world.

Approximately 110 features, 100 shorts, and 50 music videos representing more than 40 countries make up the main body of the Festival. Films submitted to the Festival are reviewed by Film Independent's programming department, which evaluates each film, looking for the best in new American and international cinema. This year, Festival programmers will consider more than 4,500 submissions.

Awards are given out in the following categories at the conclusion of the Festival: Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature (award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000), Target Filmmaker Award for Best Documentary Feature (award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000), Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, Audience Award for Best International Feature, Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition, Best Narrative Short Film, Best Documentary Short Film, Best Animated/Experimental Short Film, and the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

The Los Angeles Film Festival has unveiled such films as Deliver Us From Evil, Rock School, The Cruise, Mayor of the Sunset Strip, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Kissing Jessica Stein, and George Washington.

The Los Angeles Film Festival is presented by the Los Angeles Times and is supported by Premier Sponsors -- Target, Pop Secret(R), and Axium International, and by Principal Sponsor -- Eastman Kodak Company. Special support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner and WireImage is the Official Photography Agency of Film Independent.

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