Legendary actress Diane Keaton will be the recipient of the 45th AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film. The award will be presented to Keaton at a Gala Tribute on June 8, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA.
“Diane Keaton is one of the most beloved leading ladies of American film,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chair, AFI Board of Trustees. “Peerless in her mastery of both comedy and drama, she has won the world’s heart time and again by creating characters of both great strength and vulnerability. Her career as a director and producer is even further evidence of her passion for the art form and her seemingly boundless talents. AFI is proud to present her with its 45th Life Achievement Award.”
Diane Keaton — multifaceted actor, director, producer, author, real estate developer and photographer — can boast more than 60 diverse credits across five decades. Her iconic roles span the cinematic spectrum, from long-suffering mob wife Kay Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s THE GODFATHER (1972) to the “la-di-da” heroine of Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL (1977) — a role which earned her an Academy Award® for Best Actress and turned her into a national fashion icon. Perhaps best known for her long comedic collaboration with Allen — including PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM (1972), SLEEPER (1973), LOVE AND DEATH (1975), MANHATTAN (1979) and more — she has proved herself equally adept at dramatic roles, with powerhouse performances in films such as LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (1977), REDS (1981), THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1984) and MARVIN’S ROOM (1996). During the 1980s, Keaton turned to directing — from feature narratives and documentaries to music videos and television. A perennial box office favorite, she’s maintained her popular profile with films including BABY BOOM (1987), FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1991) and FATHER OF THE BRIDE II (1995), THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (1996), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), MORNING GLORY (2010), THE BIG WEDDING (2013), AND SO IT GOES (2014) and Pixar’s FINDING DORY (2016). She will continue to grace the screen with her unique presence in the upcoming HBO miniseries THE YOUNG POPE.
The AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute special will return for its fifth year with Turner Broadcasting to air on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
After premiering three major Academy Award winners in a row, the world’s oldest film fest is once again Hollywood’s awards-season launchpad.
The past few years, while Toronto bickered with Telluride over which festival could screen which premiere when and where, Venice — after some decidedly lackluster editions — took the high road and worked on improving. The result? It’s back on top after a scorecard that saw successful Oscar wins for Venice premieres three years in a row: Gravity, Birdman and, last year, Spotlight. Hollywood has taken notice. The festival is filled with studio titles this year, which means the red carpet will be filled with A-list talent. The four premieres that already are garnering awards buzz:
La La Land’s Oscar Launch
With Venice proving to be a good luck charm at the Oscars, one young contender seems to be taking the hint. Damien Chazelle is following up his 2014 best picture nominee Whiplash with festival opener La La Land. The musical stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). The Venice committee, after watching the film, immediately offered Lionsgate the opening slot. “I was so honored to get the invitation to open Venice,” says Chazelle. “It’s the kind of place that seems to belong in a dream. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with this movie: the way things look and sound in a dream, the magic and the romance of it all.”
Chazelle adds that it was a natural choice to follow up his critically acclaimed Whiplash with the challenging genre of the musical. “The thing I love about musicals is that everything is possible. You can combine all the arts — music, dance, painting, theater — to collectively produce an emotion that can’t be conveyed by words,” he says. “I wanted to try and make a film that told an honest, intimate story but also allowed for that kind of big-screen moviemaking.”
Festival director Alberto Barbera believes that the film, a tribute to old Hollywood musicals, is a natural candidate for the Oscars. “It has all the elements,” he says. “It’s a wonderful story, a classic film. It’s extremely well done with two outstanding lead performances. You have to go back to the ’60s and ’70s to see something that is similar to those performances. It has beautiful music, beautiful dance performances. Everything in the film is definitely outstanding.”
While Lionsgate is planning a big launch at the festival, unfortunately Gosling will not be present, as he couldn’t escape filming duties for Blade Runner 2. Stone will be back in Venice after her 2014 success with Birdman led her to an Oscar nomination.
Mel’s Big Comeback
After a public meltdown of epic proportions, Mel Gibson retreated from the spotlight, putting his work behind the camera on hold. Now Venice is premiering his first directorial effort since Apocalypto (2006). Never one to retreat from challenging topics, Gibson explores the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, in the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge.
“The movie is special,” says Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global, which co-financed the film, putting up approximately half of the budget. “Audiences can look forward to a picture that is both an old-school, action-packed wartime epic and also an intelligent and very moving present day statement on the nature of conflict and forgiveness.”
Barbera firmly believes the film marks Gibson’s comeback. “There is a high expectation of course after the previous films and all the issues around his bizarre attitude. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I saw the film,” he says. “I was quite surprised because it is a beautiful, classic war film about a courageous hero and the capability to put one’s own life before others. I think it’s proved that he’s a really great director and I hope that it will forgive some mistakes that he did and some unacceptable behaviors in the past.”
Paolo Sorrentino’s TV Debut
It’s not just films that are having their moment in Venice. HBO’s launch of Olive Kitteridge in Venice led it to pick up eight Emmy awards last year. As more and more acclaimed cinema directors make the leap into longform TV, all eyes will be on Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino’s TV debut The Young Pope, starring Jude Law as a fictional American pope who is conservative, politically conniving, and incredibly self-reflective. The production is a joint effort of HBO, Sky and Canal Plus.
“The Young Pope is a 10-part series but at the same time is a collection of 10 movies, each of them with Sorrentino’s unique flair and enthusiasm in innovating visual storytelling, featuring an inimitable top-notch technical and quality style and starring an outstanding international cast,” says Andrea Scrosati, executive vp programming of Sky Italia says. “So there could not be a more suitable venue than the Venice Film Festival to premiere the first two episodes of this show, and this choice confirms, if any additional proof were needed, that the distinction between cinema and television no longer exists: It all comes down to storytelling.”
FremantleMedia International, which is handling sales, has, not surprisingly, already begun closing deals ahead of the Venice launch. “Jude Law plays a hyper-contemporary and conservative pope, revolutionary, a fundamentalist who goes through life with an absolute faith and devotion to God,” says Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of FremantleMedia Italy. “And all the while he continuously poses to himself and to us the question we are all compelled to ask at least once in our lives: What do we mean exactly when we talk about faith and God? Stories and themes like these inevitably involve a wide audience from each country.”
Sorrentino agrees with the potential wide appeal of the series. “Beyond the interest for the Vatican, a closed and mysterious place, the series turns its attention to the Vatican’s inhabitants,” he says. “I think that the audience, regardless of where they’re from, will be captivated by the human and spiritual lives of these people.”
And with the American election coming up, Sorrentino believes that the candidates could also heed the advice of The Young Pope. “There is always danger around the corner,” he says. “The private biography of a leader can influence his choices for the collective interest of the people and that these choices could be dangerous and ineffective.”
Focus Features’ $20 Million Gamble
Last year, Focus Features paid a reported $20 million for Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford’s sophomore directorial effort.
Now, Focus is planning on betting a big chunk of their Oscar-campaign money on the dark romance based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan andstarring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Adams plays an art gallery owner who receives her ex-husband’s violent manuscript in the mail, which she interprets as a threatening tale of revenge and regret. It plays out as a story within a story as Isla Fisher plays Adams in novel form.
Could the L.A.-set noir finally deliver Amy Adams and/or Jake Gyllenhaal their long-awaited Oscars? Focus hopes so, with many more categories to push for. “The film will be one of the highlights of Venice,” says Barbera. “Both Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal could start an Oscar campaign from Venice, definitely.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 18, 2016, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the AFI DOCS 2016 festival sponsors. AT&T returns this year as Presenting Sponsor, which represents the top level of support.
Support for the festival comes from a wide range of major companies, cultural institutions, foundations, philanthropists and government agencies. The 14th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 22–26, 2016, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, Maryland.
“AT&T’s passion to mobilize the world allows AFI DOCS to bring together global audiences, impassioned storytellers and influential policy leaders in a manner worthy,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their dedication to the festival and its vital location in the heart of the nation’s capital, where documentaries can truly effect change.”
AT&T will host the Opening Night Gala at the Newseum. Also, an AT&T “It Can Wait” message warning against the dangers of distracted driving will play before each festival film. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal and VIZIO return as Official Sponsors of the festival. American Airlines returns as the official airline of AFI. VIZIO will also be the festival’s Closing Night Sponsor and will generously outfit the AFI DOCS Festival Hub with the company’s latest home theater equipment and technology.
Screen Sponsors are Discovery Communications, HBO and Netflix.
Major Sponsors include the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, returning this year; BRICKTOWN; Catapult Film Fund; CrossCurrents Foundation; CYM Media & Entertainment; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment; the Fledgling Fund; Google; and the Maryland Film Office. Harbers Studios joins the festival this year as a Major Sponsor and will also sponsor the short film programs at AFI DOCS, including screenings and Filmmaker Forum sessions.
Contributing Sponsors are Amtrak, Downtown Silver Spring and the International Documentary Association.
Also joining as a Contributing Sponsor, IFC’s comedy series DOCUMENTARY NOW!, which pays loving homage to documentaries, will host a special event on June 23 at the Landmark Theatres Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, with a six-theater presentation of iconic episodes of the show.
Official Media Sponsors include Here TV, Screen International, Variety, The Wall Street Journal, WAMU 88.5 FM and WHUT-TV. Affiliate Media Sponsors include Outfront Media and WTOP 103.5 FM.
The Newseum, AFI DOCS’ Official Gala Screening Sponsor located on historic Pennsylvania Avenue between the United States Capitol and the White House, will also host this year’s Closing Night Gala, Spotlight Screenings and the AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium and Screening with Werner Herzog.
In addition to supporting AFI DOCS film programming and festival events, sponsors provide services to filmmakers and festival attendees throughout the week. Participation ranges from sponsoring specific film screenings and receptions to outfitting venues with technology infrastructure and creating event spaces. Sponsors also participate in national and local promotion of the festival.
2016 AFI DOCS SPONSORS
Presenting Sponsor: AT&T
Official Sponsors: American Airlines (official airline of AFI), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal, VIZIO (official home theater sponsor of AFI)
Screen Sponsors: Discovery Communications, HBO and Netflix
Major Sponsors: The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands; BRICKTOWN; Catapult Film Fund; CrossCurrents Foundation; CYM Media & Entertainment; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment; the Fledgling Fund; Google; Harbers Studios; the Maryland Film Office
Contributing Sponsors: Amtrak, Anonymous, DOCUMENTARY NOW!, Downtown Silver Spring, International Documentary Association
Supporting Sponsor: Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
Cultural Sponsors: Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Danish Film Institute, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of the Republic of Poland, General Representative of the Government of Flanders to the USA
Official Media Sponsors: Here TV, Screen International, Variety, The Wall Street Journal, WAMU 88.5 FM, WHUT-TV
Affiliate Media Sponsors: Outfront Media, WTOP 103.5 FM
Official Gala Screening Sponsor: The Newseum
Official Hotels: Hotel George, Hotel Monaco
Generous Individual Support Provided By:
Major Festival Underwriter: Mary Jo Greenberg
Official Festival Underwriters: Michael C. Donaldson, Grace Guggenheim, John and Rachel King, Sally and Tod MacKenzie
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider*. And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.
*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.
About AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in the Washington, DC area. Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the premier festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the seat of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 14th year, the festival will be held June 22–26, 2016 in landmark Washington, DC venues and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit AFI.com/afidocs and connect on twitter.com/afidocs, facebook.com/afidocs and youtube.com/AFI.
About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.