Festival News

Golden Globe Award-Nominated Atonement Director Joe Wright To Be Honored At 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala
Wright to Receive Sonny Bono Visionary Award

PALM SPRINGS, CA – The 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will honor Golden Globe Award-nominated Atonement director Joe Wright with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award at the Festival’s annual Awards Gala on Saturday, January 5, 2008.

Commenting on the selection, Festival chairman Earl Greenburg said, “The talent Joe Wright has displayed in Atonement and his previous film Pride & Prejudice truly embodies the spirit of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, named after the founder of the Festival. We’re excited to honor this gifted storyteller at this year’s festival, alongside our other incredible award recipients.”

Presented by Cartier and hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart, the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will also honor Juno with the Chairman’s Vanguard Award, Hairspray with the Ensemble Performance Award, Sean Penn with Director of the Year, Daniel Day-Lewis and Halle Berry with the Desert Palm Achievement Awards, Jerry Weintraub with the SAG Foundation Patron of the Arts Award, Marion Cotillard with the Breakthrough Performance Award and Emile Hirsch and Nikki Blonsky with the Rising Star Awards at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Mr. Wright, the BAFTA Award-winning director of Pride & Prejudice, has reunited with his filmmaking team and his Academy Award-nominated actress, Keira Knightley, for another classic romance, Atonement. The Focus Features release also stars James McAvoy (BAFTA Award nominee for The Last King of Scotland), Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave. Christopher Hampton (Academy Award winner for Dangerous Liaisons) wrote the screenplay adaptation based on Ian McEwan’s best-selling novel. Atonement has received seven Golden Globe Award nominations, more than any other movie this year; Best Picture [Drama], Best Director, Best Actor [Drama], Best Actress [Drama], Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score.

For his feature film directorial debut on Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright won BAFTA’s Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in Their First Feature Film. He was also honored with the London Film Critics Circle’s award for British Director of the Year and the Boston Society of Film Critics’ award for Best New Filmmaker. Pride & Prejudice was nominated for five additional BAFTA Awards, four Academy Awards (including Best Actress [Keira Knightley]), and two Golden Globe Awards; and won a second London Film Critics Circle award, for Best British Supporting Actor (Tom Hollander), among other honors.

Mr. Wright had earlier won a BAFTA Award for the miniseries Charles II: The Power & The Passion (which aired in the U.S. as The Last King), which he directed. The project won two additional BAFTA Awards, and was nominated for three more. His prior credits as director include another highly acclaimed miniseries, the epic drama Nature Boy (for which he was a BAFTA Award nominee), starring Lee Ingleby; the miniseries Bodily Harm, starring Timothy Spall; and episodes of the television series Bob & Rose (which won several international awards).

Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include Todd Field, M. Night Shyamalan, Baz Luhrmann, and Kevin Spacey.

Founded in 1990 by then-Mayor Sonny Bono, the PSIFF is one of the largest film festivals in North America. The Festival has an attractive film sales and distribution record and is seen by American distributors as one of the best Academy Award campaign marketing tools. The Festival also features cultural events, filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and an annual black-tie gala award presentation.

Renewing their support of this year’s Festival is Title Sponsor, The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors, Spencer’s Restaurant, The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Entertainment Tonight and Wessman Development. Producing Sponsors include Mercedes-Benz, the Official Vehicle of the Festival, Integrated Wealth Management, Bank of America, Regal Entertainment, Ciroc/Don Julio/Johnnie Walker and Wells Fargo.

The 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, scheduled from January 3-14, 2008, will feature a line up of more than 230 films from 65 countries, seminars, special events and Gala receptions. For additional information call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or www.psfilmfest.org.

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