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Paul Haggis honored at The San Francisco Fest

April 21–May 5, 2005)

Writer/Director/Producer to be Honored for Excellence in Screenwriting

The San Francisco Film Society announced today that Academy Award nominee Paul Haggis will be the recipient of the inaugural Maurice Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting at the 48th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21-May 5, 2005). The award will be presented to Haggis at Film Society Awards Night on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The Film Society will be the beneficiary of the gala black-tie fundraiser honoring Haggis, Joan Allen, recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for a brilliant acting career and Taylor Hackford, recipient of the Film Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing. Margaret and William R. Hearst III are the chairs of the Film Society Awards Night committee. Honorary chairs are Pat and Susie McBaine. On Saturday, April 30, in conjunction with the Kanbar Award, Haggis will present a master class on screenwriting, featuring a screening of his new film CRASH, at the AMC Kabuki Theatres.
Roxanne Messina Captor, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, made the announcement saying, “The Maurice Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting has been established by the Film Society in acknowledgment of the keystone role that strong screenwriting plays in the creation of great films. This award is named in appreciation of Maurice’s extraordinary and longtime support of the Film Society and film artists. There is wonderful synergy in bringing two innovators together by presenting this year’s Kanbar Award to Paul Haggis.”
The Kanbar Award is named in honor of Maurice Kanbar, a longtime member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Film Society, a San Francisco Film Commissioner and a philanthropist with a particular interest in supporting independent filmmakers, as well as the creator of New York’s first multiplex theater and the inventor of SKYY Vodka. “I believe that screenwriters play a crucial role in the making of a great film. A skilled screenwriter can evoke the experience of watching the film through words and make it come to life for the reader,” said Maurice Kanbar, founder of San Francisco-based SKYY Spirits.
Paul Haggis has been selected by the Film Society to receive the Maurice Kanbar Award for 2005 in recognition of his remarkable career as a crafter of compelling stories, for television productions early in his career, and since 2000 for feature films. Highlights of Haggis’s television career include winning two Emmy Awards and creating a variety of shows, particularly the critically acclaimed CBS series EZ Street which The New York Times named one of the most influential TV series of all time. His first film script adapted from the short stories of F. X. Toole (Jerry Boyd), for Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY has been nominated for an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award. Haggis next co-wrote, produced and directed CRASH, a powerful and provocative examination of hope and redemption with an ensemble cast including Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton and Ryan Phillippe. One of the most anticipated films of 2005, CRASH is distributed by Lions Gate and slated for release in late April. Haggis wrote the screenplay for Eastwood’s next project, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, which is based on James Bradley’s book, produced by Steven Spielberg and slated for production later this year. Upcoming projects include a third film with Eastwood and HONEYMOON WITH HARRY to be directed by Haggis. Razor magazine anticipated the impact that Haggis would have when they named him one of their “25 Mavericks” of 2003, along with Sam Shepard, Julian Schnabel, Baz Luhrmann, Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong and John Irving.
The Maurice Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting is sponsored by Skyy Vodka which celebrates its 10th year as a supporter of the San Francisco International Film Festival and independent filmmakers. SKYY maintains an active role in the film community by supporting the creation of original content and working with filmmakers to bring their creative visions to life while inspiring excellence and vision in cinema.

The 48th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 21–May 5, 2005 at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres, the Home of the Festival, the Castro Theatre, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco; the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley; and Landmark’s Aquarius Theatre in Palo Alto. Tickets for San Francisco Film Society members will be available on March 29 and for the general public on April 5. To purchase tickets and for ticket information log on to, call 925.866.9559 or visit the Main Ticket Outlet, located in the atrium of the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres, 1881 Post Street or the Satellite Ticket Outlet at the Virgin Megastore, 2 Stockton Street. For up-to-date Festival information log on to or call 415.561.5000.

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