The Denver Film Festival is all set to let audiences “sit and be swept away” — into a twelve-day schedule of over 200 films and 150 visiting guest filmmakers, actors, and film luminaries that starts on November 4. And festival organizers have just announced the recipients of two of their biggest awards, who happen to both be involved in the same new film.
This year’s recipient of the coveted John Cassavetes Award is none other than actor John Turturro, muse to the Coen Brothers and Spike Lee. Turturro has appeared in over sixty films in a career that has spanned three decades. "As an actor whose body of work ranges from the deadly serious to the comically outrageous, John Turturro has made an indelible mark on modern American cinema," says festival director Britta Erickson. "We at the Denver Film Festival are proud to present this versatile, deeply committed and always adventurous actor with the 2015 John Cassavetes Award."
The John Cassavetes Award, established in 1989 in collaboration with Cassavetes's widow, Gena Rowlands, is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the world of filmmaking and whose work reflects the spirit of the late filmmaker. The award was first presented to Steven Soderberg; recent recipients include Vince Vaughn, Sean Penn, William H. Macy, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, J.K. Simmons, Elliott Gould and Judy Greer. The John Cassavetes Award presentation will take place on Thursday, November 12 at the Sie FilmCenter; it will be followed by a one-on-one conversation with John Turturro hosted by Robert Denerstein and an audience Q&A. Tickets for this event are extremely limited; they are $20 or $17 for Denver Film Society members.
Turturro also stars in DFF's special presentation (by invitation only) of Mia Madre, a film directed by Nanni Moretti — recipient of the Maria & Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award. That honor, established in 2012 and funded through an endowment from the Anna & John J. Sie Foundation named for Anna Sie's parents, recognizes the best in contemporary Italian cinema.
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Writer/ actor/ director Nanni Moretti is one of contemporary Italy's most celebrated filmmakers, with an award-winning career that began in 1973 and includes his film The Son's Room (La stanza del figlio), which received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. His latest film, the multilayered Mia Madre, which also stars Moretti, features remarkable performances by Margherita Buy and a wonderfully comedic John Turturro as a buffoonish American actor in over his head.
Tickets for all Denver Film Festival events are on sale at denverfilm.org.