Festival News

Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle to be honored at PSIFF Awards Gala


PALM SPRINGS, CA (December 21, 2010) – The 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Academy Award® winners Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle with the Chairman’s Award and the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, respectively.  Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will kick off the 2011 awards season on Saturday, January 8, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  Hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will honor previously announced honorees Javier Bardem, Robert Duvall, Colin Firth, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, David O. Russell, Diane Warren and the cast of The Social Network.  The Festival runs January 6-17.

Commenting on Affleck, Festival Chairman Harold Matzner said, “If there is truly a renaissance man in today’s cinema, it’s Ben Affleck.  He has distinguished himself as a premier writer and director, as well as an actor with a broad-ranging and impressive filmography.  In his latest work, The Town, Affleck once again puts his acting, writing and directorial skills to work, in a stinging portrait of a New England town and the grip it has on generation after generation, who find it impossible to leave.  For his ability to “do it all” and constantly evolve as an artist, The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Ben Affleck with the 2011 Chairman’s Award.”

Commenting on Boyle, Matzner continues, “Throughout cinematic history, truly great filmmakers have never been afraid of taking risks that challenge their audiences.  Danny Boyle believes that doing something different that jolts audiences out of their comfort zones, defines the essence of a filmmaker. In his latest work, 127 Hours, Boyle captures the instinct to survive in a most visceral way. For his vision, guts and boundless skills, The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Danny Boyle with the 2011 Sonny Bono Visionary Award.”   

Ben Affleck will receive the Chairman’s Award.  Affleck directed, co-wrote and stars in The Town, which was a hit both critically and commercially.  A dramatic thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope, and escaping a past that has no future, the film also stars Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper.  The Town has been honored by the National Board of Review (Best Ensemble Cast) and has received nominations from the Critics Choice Awards (Best Acting Ensemble), Golden Globe Awards (Best Supporting Actor for Renner) and Screen Actors Guild Awards® (Best Supporting Actor for Renner).

In addition to The Town, Affleck starred this fall in the indie feature The Company Men, with Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. He made his directorial debut in 2007 with the feature Gone Baby Gone, for which he won several critics groups’ awards, including the Best Directorial Debut Award from the National Board of Review. Affleck first came to prominence in 1997 with the acclaimed drama Good Will Hunting, which he starred in and co-wrote with Matt Damon. The two won numerous honors for the film’s original screenplay, including an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe Award and the Humanitas Prize. His other film credits include Hollywoodland, Extract, He’s Just Not That Into You, State of Play, Shakespeare in Love, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Forces of Nature, Boiler Room, Changing Lanes, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil, Jersey Girl, Man About Town and Smokin’ Aces.

Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman.

Danny Boyle will receive the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, named after the Festival’s founder.  Boyle directs 127 Hours, the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a falling boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated slot canyon in Utah.  Based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, the film is written by Boyle & Simon Beaufoy.  127 Hours has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards (including Best Actor for Franco, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score), three Independent Spirit Awards (including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Male Lead for Franco) and a Screen Actors Guild Award® (for Franco as lead actor).

Boyle’s first feature, Shallow Grave, earned him the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA Awards, as well as a host of other accolades including Best Director at the San Sebastian Film Festival, The Empire Award for Best Director and Best British Film and the London Critics’ Circle Film Award for Best British Newcomer.  Boyle’s second feature, Trainspotting, is one of the highest grossing British films of all time.  The critically acclaimed film won four Empire Awards including Best Director and Best Film and was nominated for a BAFTA Alexander Korda Award.

In 2002 Boyle made the smash hit horror film 28 Days Later, which earned more than $80 million worldwide.  The film earned Boyle a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.  His other features include Millions,starring James Nesbit, Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon; The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio; A Life Less Ordinary, starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz; Alien Love Triangle; and Sunshine, starring Cillian Murphy.  Slumdog Millionaire, his eighth international released film, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win more than 100 international industry awards including four Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs and eight Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. 

Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann, M. Night Shyamalan, Gus Van Sant and Joe Wright.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 130,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who in recent years have included Clint Eastwood, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ron Howard, Anne Hathaway, Jeff Bridges, Danny Elfman and many others.

The Festival’s 22nd Annual Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. Renewing sponsors of this year’s Festival are Title Sponsor The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, Spencer’s Restaurant and KPSP Local 2. Major Sponsors include Bank of America, Penfolds, Regal Entertainment, Diageo, Desert Regional Medical Center, Integrated Wealth Management, Wessman Development, Guthy-Renker, Wells Fargo, Chihuly Art Glass, and Ocean Properties Development.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.


Steven Wilson / Emily Davis
B|W|R Public Relations
swilson@bwr-la.com / edavis@bwr-la.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Festival

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