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Santa Barbara to honor Penélope Cruz

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is proud to honor Penélope Cruz with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 24th edition of the Fest, which runs January 22-February 1, 2009, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Cruz, who returned to theaters this summer with two powerful and diverse back-to-back performances in “Elegy” opposite Sir Ben Kingsley and Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” opposite Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson, garnering her accolades from both audiences and critics alike, will be presented with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Saturday, January 31, at the historic Arlington Theatre.

“There are few actresses who can today be described as international movie goddesses,” comments Durling, “and this year, with her exceptional work in “Elegy” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Penélope Cruz has earned that description.”

Cruz was first introduced to American audiences in the Spanish films “Jamón, Jamón,” and “Belle Époque,” a film which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film in 1994. Noted for her leading lady status in Spanish cinema, she appeared in such films as the classic Pedro Almodovar film “Live Flesh,” Alejandro Amenabar’s “Open Your Eyes,” and Fernando Trueba’s “The Girl of Your Dreams.” In 1998 Cruz starred in her first English language film, “Hi-Lo Country” for director Stephen Frears opposite Woody Harrelson and in 1999 she appeared in Pedro Almodóvar's “All About My Mother,” which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film. She went on to appear in such films as “All the Pretty Horses,” directed by Billy Bob Thornton opposite Matt Damon, “Woman on Top,” with Harold Perrineau, Ted Demme’s film, “Blow,” opposite Johnny Depp, and “Bandidas,” opposite Salma Hayek. In 2006, she re-teamed with Pedro Almodóvar in “Volver,” which earned her a Best Actress Ensemble Award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as nominations for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award. Cruz recently completed production on her next Almodovar collaboration, “Los Abrazos Rotos,” and will soon begin production on “Nine,” directed by Rob Marshall and based on Federico Fellini’s “8 ½.”

Cruz will join an illustrious group of previous Outstanding Performance Award recipients, including Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005) and Charlize Theron (2004).

The Outstanding Performer of the Year Tribute to Penélope Cruz will take place at the Arlington Theatre with a multimedia presentation produced by Paul Fagen of P. Fagen Productions. Tickets for this event are available now, discounted 20% until November 14 and can be purchased through www.sbfilmfestival.org or through the Lobero Box Office, 805.963.0761 and the Arlington Theater Box office, 805.963.4408. Mini-Paks for the festival (NOT passes) are discounted 20% until November 28. Festival Platinum and Cinema Passes are currently on sale exclusively at the Lobero Box Office. Box Office fees will apply for all Film Festival Passes, Mini-Paks, and event tickets.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, set to run January 22 through February 1, 2009, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching local culture and raising consciousness of film as an art form. The SBIFF presents quality American and world independent films, Latin American and Asian sidebars as well as documentary cinema within the beautiful setting of downtown Santa Barbara, a premier tourist destination. The SBIFF is also committed to

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