Bill Pullman to receive Denver Film Festival's John Cassavetes Award

Bill Pullman.

There are plenty of interesting movies on the 31st Starz Denver Film Festival's schedule, but not a heckuva lot of star power. Don't know if the announcement that actor Bill Pullman will be receiving the fest's John Cassavetes Award on November 23 changes that equation much. But at least Pullman, whose credits include The Accidental Tourist , Sleepless in Seattle, Igby Goes Down and, of course, Independence Day (he played the prez), is accompanying what could be an interesting new project. He and Julia Ormond co-star in Surveillance, the latest effort by director Jennifer Chambers-Lynch -- the daughter of filmmaker David Lynch, for whom Pullman worked in 1997's Lost Highway. Get more details below. -- Michael Roberts


DENVER--Nov. 5, 2008--The Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF) has announced that Bill Pullman will receive the Festival's John Cassavetes Award on Nov. 23, at the screening of his new film Surveillance. Pullman will also be a special guest at the Mayor's reception on Nov. 22.

The John Cassavetes Award was established in 1989 in collaboration with Gena Rowlands, his widow. It 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 John Cassavetes. The first recipient of this award was Steven Soderbergh and recent recipients include Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, William H. Macy, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins.

In Surveillance, filmmaker Jennifer Chambers Lynch--the daughter of auteur David Lynch, who serves on this film as executive producer--spins a starkly sinister yarn about two FBI agents (Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond) interrogating three survivors of a brutal mass murder-all of whom harbor their own dark secrets. The film will be included in The Watching Hour, the program of alternative films and soon-to-be cult classics featured at SDFF 31.

"From playing such diverse roles as President Whitmore in Independence Day to his part in David Lynch's Lost Highway to his turn in Rick (SDFF 26), Bill Pullman is known as one of cinema's most interesting actors," said Britta Erickson, SDFF director. "We are proud to host him at this year's Starz Denver Film Festival and to present him with this prestigious award."


The Starz Denver Film Festival will run Nov. 13-23 and will feature nearly 175 films representing the work of filmmakers from all corners of the globe. More than 150 film artists will be in attendance to introduce their works to enthusiastic Festival audiences.

All regular screenings will take place at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli on the Auraria Campus, the home for the Denver Film Society. Opening Night (Nov. 13), Big Night (Nov. 15), Saturday-at-the-Movies (Nov. 22) and Closing Night (Nov. 22) will take place at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Special screenings will be shown in the King Academic and Performing Arts Center on the Auraria Campus.

For the Festival schedule, ticket information or more information about SDFF 31, visit

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts