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Interview | Saddam

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Movie Name: Saddam Director Name: Rick Hester

 

 

Hello Rick! Welcome to SIFF

 

1.The movie Saddam is definitely a great story. What made you come up with this idea?

As I read the transcripts of their declassified conversations, the bond that was developing between this young FBI agent and Saddam was just so compelling. It was a great story. And one that virtually no one had heard about. Here you had this young U.S. government employee, Agent George Piro, born in war-torn Beirut, but raised in California, and Saddam, isolated inside an American detention center, and somehow these two find a way to connect on just this very human level. Yeah, it was unexpected. And the stakes for both were really so high. It also helped that Saddam, when recalling these old stories to Agent Piro, stories full of intrigue and deception, would always end the story with something like, “It was just like in the movies.” So it wasn’t a huge leap.

 

2.Why did you choose this sensitive topic?

I came away from reading the transcripts believing that had there been just one bridge of trust, one channel of honest contact between the U.S. government and Saddam, the entire catastrophe of the Iraq War may have been avoided. In other words, in a world where powerful centrifugal forces seem to be collapsing bridges of trust, pulling societies, alliances and global institutions apart in their wake, SADDAM is a story that reminds us of the vital importance to the world of building bridges. In this case that process began with two people engaged in simple conversation.

 

3.Do you think Saddam deserved a second chance?

I think that’s a very interesting question. I’d be very curious what the Iraqi people would say about that today. Someone should take a poll. I do think that this story probably reveals a side of Saddam that even many Iraqis didn’t know existed. 

4.What are your ideas on redemption?

Redemption requires one to atone for what one views as a mistake or a fault. In Saddam’s case, I don’t think he believed atonement was required. He just didn’t see his role in history that way. In fact, he’s quite unapologetic. It’s only when his more self serving narratives are challenged that you see any hint of discomfort or remorse. At one point in the transcript he’s questioned about his rumored involvement in the murder of a close friend whom he’d begun to perceive as a political rival and he becomes very upset and ends the session. Later he explains to Agent Piro that he was never upset with him, “It was just that some things in the past are dark.” That’s really as close as he gets. Saddam truly viewed himself as a revolutionary and his actions as always necessary to further his pan-Arabist vision. 

 

5.How do you see the friendship between the FBI agent and Saddam?

I think it was genuine. But I also think it was complex and driven by strong, practical motivations on both sides. While Agent Piro certainly had some very high-level and specialized experience inside the FBI – he had been behind the “Phoenix Memo” warning that Bin Laden was focusing student terrorists on civil aviation schools, and he was also a member of CTORS, the FBI’s rapid response terrorism fly team – never-the-less, he was just a field agent. And this was a mission with enormous stakes. He didn’t want to fail. On Saddam’s side,

“The Times of Harvey Milk” Is Still Urgent and Essential Viewing

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Rob Epstein (photo by Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock for Sundance)

By Bailey Pennick

“This will be banned if this election goes the wrong way. How do we stop it?”

“What is your advice to keep hope alive?”

“What are we going to do?”

Four decades after he screened his sophomore film at the very first Sundance Film Festival, these are the questions that Rob Epstein is fielding from the audience. The crowd is emotional. The crowd is angry at the injustice of what they just witnessed in the 88 minutes of The Times of Harvey Milk. The crowd is anxious and looks to the documentarian for answers. 

With each one asked, he never gets flustered. He’s calm and eager to connect with the engaged crowd because he’s been answering questions like this for 40 years. “We have to all be ever vigilant,” Epstein says after the 40th Edition Celebration screening at the Egyptian Theatre. The film’s cinematographer, Frances Reid, doubles down on Epstein’s advice: “Harvey’s call is still the call we have to pick up — especially this election year.” 

The call Reid is speaking of is Milk’s iconic speech about hope, which Epstein ends his Academy Award–winning documentary with. “Without hope the us’s give up,” says a voiceover of the slain San Francisco supervisor over footage of his campaigns and acts of public service. “I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope.”

The Times of Harvey Milk, originally meant to be a documentary about the Briggs Initiative campaign, traces Milk’s hard work and rise from Castro camera shop owner and neighborhood activist to the first out supervisor in the city and icon for the LGBTQ+ community. In capturing footage about the discriminatory proposition (which would have banned gay and lesbian individuals from working in California’s public schools), Epstein was able to capture interviews with Milk’s constituents and put the film together quickly after Milk and mayor George Moscone’s assassinations by fellow supervisor Dan White.

“The mission of the film was to take this story that was little known out of San Francisco and find a wider audience,” Epstein explains at the post-screening Q&A. “We knew it was going to be on public TV, because we got a grant to make the film and show it there, but once we showed at festivals like Sundance [and then when we got the Oscar], we cumulatively were taking in that what we set out to do was taking effect. We were bringing Harvey’s story to a greater public.”

After The Times of Harvey Milk’s release on PBS, Epstein and his crew received stacks of mail about the changing of minds and hearts of previously close-minded family members. This wave of change continued after the Academy Awards as well, but Epstein is quick to remind everyone that they were still a small production. “The next day, after the Oscars, the film’s distributor went bankrupt,” he says with a laugh. “Classic independent cinema.”

The moment of levity is appreciated in a room filled with people who are quick to make parallels between the slew of anti-gay legislation of the 1970s/80s and the anti-trans legislation currently popping up like weeds in America. “This dialectical reaction to communities self-identifying and the backlash to that is not new. The trans community is the latest political scapegoat,” says Epstein before

When the Light Breaks, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s vision

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OFFICIAL SELECTION
By Charlotte Pavard, published on 15.05.2024

 

WHEN THE LIGHT BREAKS © Compass Film
For the opening of the Un Certain Regard selection, the Debussy theatre welcomes the Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson with Ljósbrot (When the Light Breaks) : a subtle film about mourning and how to approach it, which was originally a short film.

 

What inspired you to begin work on this film?

Ever since experiencing the loss of a friend as a young man, I wanted to deal with the emotions I experienced the day it happened, by telling a universal story. Another recent loss in my life re-awoke that urge, and the storyline became more concrete.

My aim was to create a narrative or image that encompasses the complex feelings on a day of losing someone unexpectedly. Reality is altered and the future changes in an instant. The film takes that moment and expands it. It unfolds in a short period of time in which the space between contradicting emotions is narrow, when laughing turns into crying, and beauty coexists with sorrow.

 

Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set. 

I want my sets to be calm and focused. Everything should be as well prepared as possible. This kind of preparation ensures freedom the moment the camera rolls, but of course, not everything can be controlled beforehand.

In Iceland, we have to deal with all kinds of challenges, because we are on a remote island with a tiny population. Many things are not readily available, and we often have to rely on last-minute solutions to problems. On top of it, the weather is very unreliable, making outdoor filming something that has to be approached with an open mind. These challenges also mean that people are resilient and nimble to react. On set, this translates into quick and almost wordless interactions. My crew was small and everyone was tuned to the task at hand, enabling us to catch unexpected moments.

 

Please share a few words about your actors.

All the actors in our film are immensely talented and they were a great joy to work with. They kept the perfect balance between professionalism and playfulness, and they were extremely dedicated and hardworking. Our main actress, Elín Hall, can convey a wide variety of emotions with barely perceptible changes of expression. She embodied both the strength and tenderness I was looking for, and her ability to show rather than tell provided the essence for the character of Una. The ability to convey the unsaid is equally strong with both Katla Njálsdóttir and Mikael Kaaber, the actors supporting Una. Together they formed the kernel of intensity that propels the narrative without too much dialogue.

What did you learn during the course of making this film?

This film is my first project after the pandemic. After three years of relative solitude in which the story evolved and I was in close contact with only a handful of people, finally making the film was a joyful reminder of the energies that are released when working together with other people. I rediscovered that filmmaking is essentially a communal undertaking; it can’t be done alone.

 

What would you like people to remember from your film?

Una, our main character, is an outsider in the events that unfold around her, even though she is in fact at their center. Because of a secret she carries, she can’t claim the space she deserves in the grief that she experiences. Una has to make space for everyone else’s em

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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While Heather Morris’s novelisation of the memoirs of Holocaust survivor Lale Sokolov has not been without its controversy (the Auschwitz Memorial Research Centre has criticised it for some factual inaccuracy), it is an extraordinary love story set against the backdrop of evil and I have found the tv adaptation to be harrowing and powerful. I think it is vitally important that these stories keep being told for generations to come.

Sokolov is played with sensitivity by Jonah Hauer-King – who looks uncannily like a young Mark Rylance – while the older version of him, portrayed passing on his memories to writer Morris, comes courtesy of an exceptional performance by Harvey Keitel. It is shocking – over and over, it is shocking – and yet contains moments of genuine human beauty whose contrast with mankind’s most shameful acts makes them seem all the more touching.

Kara Talve and Hans Zimmer

It can’t be at all easy for any composer to find the right tone for this sort of material – overdo any sentimentality and the criticism will flood in, go too hard on emphasising the beautiful moments and risk being accused of smoothing over the terror, treat it anything like a horror movie and then risk losing the small-scale triumph over adversity that ultimately is what plays out for specific characters while most of those around them are wiped out. The credited composers, Hans Zimmer and Kara Talve, both have personal connections to the time – Zimmer’s mother fled the Nazi regime shortly before the outbreak of the second world war, while Talve’s grandmother spent the war hiding with a piano teacher in France.

Poignantly, the very piano Talve’s grandmother used at that time is used in the score (it has a characterful, truly distinctive sound). Zimmer said of the approach to creating the music that he wanted to make it seem like an alien world – one that nobody would ever want to visit – and this lends it a very slightly detached feel which works very well indeed and avoids all the pitfalls mentioned previously.

The highlights however come in the scoring of those shimmers of light. The main theme, “Whatever It Takes”, underscores most of these in one form or another. Its simple, unmistakably Hebraic central melody is affecting – whether heard on solo violin, cello, the old piano and even in a vocal version by no less than Barbra Streisand it is powerful and direct. The other most powerful device in the score is a kind of (presumably) electronic chime which is used to horrifying effect to signify deaths – if you hear it out of context without having seen the show you may be tempted to think it is anachronistic, but it’s actually quite extraordinarily powerful in context – it appears throughout the score, and proves the notion that sometimes the most simple ideas are the best.

Necessarily – and obviously – the album can be an uncomfortable listen at times. “Not Long Now” is harrowing – the familiar violin transported to an instrument of terror, those chimes of death dotted hauntingly throughout. “I Will Find You” contrasts screeching violin with a calm cello as tragedy unfolds. But you need those moments – for the shimmers of light to appear so bright, they have to be there. The whole story has to be told, and Zimmer and Talve tell it so well. It is unflinching in its portrayal of evil, gently and entirely unsentimentally celebratory when it can portray beauty. It’s an impressive piece of work.

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Meet the Game Designer of Paper Trail

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Paper Trail is a top-down puzzle adventure that follows the adventures of Paige, an astrophysicist in the making. We meet her as she leaves home and her worried parents to pursue her dream. Here, players fold the world like origami in order to solve a series of challenging and fun levels. This is a story about creating your own path, metaphorically and literally! Developed by Newfangled Games, this captivating title won Best Game at our first-ever Games Lab in 2023. We caught up with Henry Hoffmann, a BAFTA-winning game designer and founder of the studio, to learn more about Paper Trail’s unique gameplay mechanic, the origins of the plot and what’s next for this exciting indie studio.

ASFF: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a Game Designer so far?
HH:
I’ve been making games in some form since I was 9 years old! That was when we got our first family computer and I got a copy of this drag and drop game making tool called Klik & Play. After making hundreds of 2D games using that, I upgraded to Blender and made hundreds more 3D games! I then went to University to study videogame art and design, where I founded my first company and made the game Mush. We got a publishing deal with Microsoft, won a BAFTA, and had great fun – all before graduating University! Since then I’ve started a number of indie game studios and worked on games including QUBE, Mortar Melon, Hue and now my most recent game Paper Trail!

ASFF: Paper Trail follows the protagonist Paige, who, against the wishes of her parents, runs away from home to study astrophysics at university. How did you come up with the plot?
HH:
Well, it went through many iterations as the idea for the game developed. Originally, we were thinking about what kinds of narrative could be informed by the mechanic, this idea of folding the world and instantly travelling between realms. The idea of being in two places at the same time, that was the seed for our earliest versions of the story. That led us down a bit of a dark path. We had a story about a girl whose parents were going through a divorce, whilst her grandma hides a growing illness – you try to fix both by being in two places at the same time, but ultimately fail to solve anything. This one explored hard lessons about prioritising yourself, understanding your limits and forgiving your inner child. Needless to say, that isn’t the direction we ended up taking.

We instead drew on some personal experiences around feeling trapped in our hometown, of longing for adventure and broader horizons, of being among the first of our peers to leave and about making peace with our pasts too. We were in a small town in Suffolk, dreaming of going to university and leaving home – itching to get out there and start experiencing life. Paige is much the same! In fact the town which Paige grows up in is called Southfold. A play on the seaside town Southwold in East Anglia, where we used to go on holiday as a family.

ASFF: There’s a unique gameplay mechanic that involves players folding paper to create new paths and solutions. Could you tell us more? For instance, how did you come up with the idea?
HH:
Yeah! So the folding mechanic is what makes Paper Trail really unique. The world is set out on these individual pieces of paper with levels on the fronts and the backs of the papers. What’s cool is that you can fold these papers, effectively merging the two levels where the front and back meet. You can then seamlessly pass through this rift where you’ve folded paper, as if you&

“It’s Only Life After All,” but Indigo Girls Bring It to Life in New Documentary

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By Peter Jones

Amy Ray shuffles through a rack of clothing to find an unusual sleeveless western shirt.

Who would wear such a thing… she wonders out loud.

“I would.”

The lighthearted scene from It’s Only Life After All, in a sense, typifies the determined, almost rugged independence of the Indigo Girls, a folk-pop group that has long lived by its own rules in everything from song craft to sexual expression. The new documentary profiling the enduring duo premiered January 19 at the Ray Theater.

Director Alexandria Bombach mixes archival footage of the Indigo Girls with new and old interviews, creating a comprehensive and honest biography that is told exclusively in the words of Ray and her musical partner, Emily Saliers. Although the frequent juxtaposition of past to present is visually striking, the pair’s harmonies remain so perfect that even edits within the same song — culled from separate performances decades apart — are seamless with nary a compromising key change.

In the Q&A after the screening, Saliers said the musical duo developed an immediate rapport with Bombach, a longtime Indigo Girls fan who wanted to chronicle the group’s story for the first time in a full-length documentary.

“Sometimes trust is a chemical,” Saliers said. “When me met Alexandria, we just felt a calm with her … We knew that she was gifted, and we were really overwhelmed to be asked. It was a shocker.”

That’s not to say the filmmaking process was always easy on the two musicians.

“There are days when you don’t want to put a microphone pack on your butt,” Saliers said. “[But] the word ‘trust’ keeps coming up — and that’s it. Not only trust, we really love the people who worked on this film.”

Bombach said one of the main challenges of making the documentary was figuring out how to edit the film, including a plethora of archival footage the Indigo Girls had collected over the years.

“I wanted it to go on and on and on,” the director said of the two-hour biography. “It was really hard to make it this short. There was so much to cover. … It was painful what I had to leave out.”

Sifting through the archives was half the enjoyment for Ray.

“I got that from my daddy and his parents. I have a family that loves to document — on both sides. Books, diaries, film, and everything. For me, I always wanted to film everything. It’s fun,” she said.

The film takes turns serious and comical as Ray and Saliers wax nostalgic, reflect thoughtfully on their personal demons, and at one point hilariously, yet poignantly, read out loud a decades-old, brutally scathing review from The New York Times — occasionally agreeing with its venom. Indigo Girls would eventually find their place, not in the genre-defining women’s folk scene that birthed them, but in the post-punk alternative world that encouraged their “outlaw” approach.

It’s Only Life After All, whose title is lifted from the group’s hit “Closer to Fine,” has many moments of illumination — the duo’s awakening to a less sanitized environmentalism, their initial differences on the idea of “coming out,” the lesbian pair’s determined lack of romantic attraction for each other, and an utterly charming view on the Indigo Girls as doting mothers.

But perhaps the most arresting revelation in the new documentary is that these two acoust

Cannes reveals the six new faces of La Résidence of the Festival

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The six new faces of La Résidence of the Festival : Molly Manning Walker ©️ Billy Boyd Cape, Ernst De Geer ©️ Per Larsson, Daria Kashcheeva ©️ Gabriel Kuchta, Deník N, Danech San ©️ Prum Ero, Anastasiia Solonevych ©️ DR, Aditya Amhad ©️ DR

Welcome to Molly, Aditya, Daria, Danech, Ernst and Anastasiia ! From March 15 to July 31, 2024, these young filmmakers will work in the heart of Paris on their first or second feature film project. For 4 and a half months, they will benefit from a personalized script development program and a collective program of meetings with directors, professionals and representatives of film institutions.

In the historically rich neighborhood of Paris's 9th arrondissement, the six new residents took up residence following the last session, comprising Meltse Van Coillie, Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Hao Zhao, Gessica Généus, Andrea Slaviček, Asmae El Moudir. These two sessions will be reunited for the 77th edition of the Festival de Cannes to be held from May 14 to 25.

Since the reorganization of La Résidence in 2022, filmmakers are now selected both by call for applications and by invitation, with Stéphanie Lamome in charge of the project. Created in 2000, La Résidence has played host to over 250 directors from around 60 countries. A number of these directors, invited to the biggest festivals around the world, have had international success: Lucrecia Martel, Kornél Mundruczó, Sebastián Lelio, Antonio Campos, Karim Aïnouz, Jonas Carpignano, etc.

After passing through La Résidence, the Romanian Corneliu Porumboiu received the Caméra d’or in 2006 for 12:08 East of Bucharest, the Mexican director Amat Escalante won the Award for Best Director at Cannes in 2013 with Heli, while his compatriot Michel Franco was awarded the Best Screenplay Award in 2015 for Chronic, screened In Competition. The Hungarian László Nemes won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2015, as well as the Oscar and Golden Globe for best foreign language film in 2016 for Son of Saul, the Belgian Lukas Dhont got the Caméra d’or in 2018 with Girl, and the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki won the César and the Oscar for best foreign film in 2019 with Capernaum. After having received the G

Studio Spotlight: State of Play

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BAFTA-winning developers State of Play took part in our inaugural Games Lab with their beautiful title, South of the Circle. Here are more projects from a studio known for making eye-catching animations and lovingly-crafted games.

Lume

In this prequel to Lumino City (see below), players meet inquisitive youngster Lumi. One day, she discovers that the power to her grandad’s house has failed. What’s more, he’s nowhere to be seen, but has left behind some intriguing clues. Solve perplexing paper puzzles to help restore the power through ingenious eco-technology, and uncover a deeper mystery behind the blackout.

Kami

KAMI, named after the Japanese word for paper, is deceptively simple. Players fold out coloured paper to fill the screen in as few moves as possible. Each tile was crafted using real paper, resulting in a beautiful aesthetic that maintains the feel of working with real paper. This carefully-made game will drop you into a state of calm as you attempt to complete each puzzle perfectly.

Lumino City

Lumino City is the BAFTA award-winning puzzle adventure game made entirely by hand using paper, card, wood, miniature lights and motors. Following the adventures in Lume, we discover Lumi’s grandfather has been kidnapped. To find him, Lumi must explore the city, figure out the mechanisms that power it and uncover the mysterious secrets of the city.

South of the Circle

South of the Circle is a narrative adventure telling the story of Peter, a Cambridge academic who finds himself fighting for survival in Antarctica during the 1960’s Cold War. Peter flashes back to his life at the university and his relationship with a fellow lecturer, Clara. As the he battles against the harsh conditions and tries to escape, the past and the present begin to blur. 

Inks.

This is pinball for the new generation. INKS deconstructs your objective into over a hundred unique, tactical challenges. Burst your way through each canvas as you attempt to win without losing the golden ball whilst layers of ink record a visual history of your progress. Complete the level in the fewest number of hits po

Fantasporto World Premiere of The Floor Plan with another busy screening schedule

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WORLD PREMIERE OF ONE OF THE FUTURE WORLD BLOCKBUSTERS

March 6th - IN THE PRESENCE OF THE FILM CREW

The Floor Plan – Junichi Ishikawa -110´- ( Japan ) CF/OE- WORLD PREMIERE- horror fantastic , vo, leg english , leg port

Amemiya is a Youtuber who specializes in the occult . When your _ advisor him brings a house plan to observe , notice that the house presents compartments that do not they are logical , as if the owners they wanted to hide some thing dark or someone . Who? What ? _ The imagination is on the loose . However , the neighborhood start counting _ stories and a woman , Yuzuki , contacts the Youtuber . Together will reveal the mystery of the house. The horror Japanese in your better .

 

ROOM 1

IN THE PRESENCE OF THE DIRECTOR

15:15 Supporting Actors - Árpad Sopsits – 110' (Hun) - Retrospective Visions of Hungarian Cinema | SR- drama , vo, leg ingl , leg. port

Árpád Sopsits

Director Árpád Sopsits _ studied at the Theater and Cinema Academy . Your first feature film was “Shooting Gallery ” (1989) which had debuted in the Directors ' Fortnight at the Cannes Festival where it was awarded . Others followed , such as “ Videoblues ” (1992) and “ Abandoned ” (2000), equally awarded . After came , among other films, “The Seventh Circle” in 2009, Best Film at the Amsterdam Festival , and “ Strangled ” (2016) which features it is Retrospective Hungarian . In competition in Fantas 2024 Two Directors ' Week .

This social drama tells the stories parallels of 3 families in modern - day rural Hungary . We follow the stories of Árpad , a rich business man , woman _ Franciska , Babita's daughter , a photographer called Gábor , the artist ceramics his girlfriend , Edina, and a priest who works at the prison . Yours _ destinations they are connected . Many live still or lived in the same city and their lives are determined by the secrets and crimes that are revealing over a period of ten years .

 IN THE PRESENCE OF THE DIRECTOR AND THE PRODUCER

17:30 - Papa Mascot – King Palisoc - 94' (Philippines) SR/OE- drama, vo, leg engl, leg port

Nicole, 7 years old , has leukemia . The father, Nico, who clearly adores the child , seeks help to cure his daughter who is in the hospital . And when stops having money , withdraws it at hidden . Pursued by the police , the girl recovered , it is concluded that the child was kidnapped there is years . Portraits of revenge and tenderness , even per ways tortuous . Another Luisito film Lagdameo , director awarded at Fantasporto for “Laut” (2016) and “ School Service” (2019).

AFTER VENICE 2023 WHERE THE CRITICS AWARD WON

19:15 Shadow Of Fire - Shinya Tsukamoto - 95' ( Japan ) SR/OE- drama , voice, leg English , leg port

Shinya Tsukamoto

Director Japanese , known and awarded at Fantasporto which has already presented about one _ ten of his films, including “ Tetsuo : the Iron Man” (1989), “ Tetsuo : Body Hammer” (1992), in the presence of the director , “ Ichi the Killer” (2001), “Vital” (2004) and “A Snake of June” ( Best Award ) Actress and Jury in 2003). Also known for “Tetsuo: The Bullet Man” (2009), “Killing” (2018), “Fires on

VIDEO: SBIFF Honoring Bradley Cooper with the Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award

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Honoree Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, and Brad Pitt pose with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

Bradley Cooper was honored on Thursday, February 8, 2024 for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO from Netflix.

 

Bradley Cooper, born in Philadelphia, is an acclaimed actor, filmmaker, writer, and producer. A nine-time Oscar nominee, Grammy winner, and Tony nominee, Cooper’s directorial debut A STAR IS BORN, which he co-wrote, produced, starred and directed garnered 8 Oscar nominations. Following the success of his producorial work, Cooper started his production company Lea Pictures in 2020, which includes his much-anticipated film MAESTRO.

 

“Nine-time Oscar® nominee Bradley Cooper has proven to be an actor of incredible range and versatility.  What has impressed me the most is that he has grown to be one of the most indelible directing voices .  He’s a renaissance man - an outstanding performer indeed!” SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling noted.

 

MAESTRO is a towering and fearless love story chronicling the lifelong relationship between Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. A love letter to life and art, MAESTRO at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love.

The Outstanding Performer of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film. Past recipients of the award include Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Sacha Baron Cohen, Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF

When accepting his award, Bradley Cooper stated: “People made movies, I watched them, they changed me, inspired me, kept me alive. Now that I get to do these things, the thing I benefit from is the doing. Seeing these projects that I've been a part of, these memories, magical made up stories, it’s such a privilege. In life, I’ve been so privileged, so blessed.”

 

 

  • After coming onstage, Bradley Cooper said: “I just have to give it up to Roger Durling and what he just did. This is incredible Roger, very unorthodox. It’s very Leonard Bernstein.”
  • Bradley Cooper shared: “I auditioned for it [Sex and the City]. At that time, I didn’t even realize you could get the job. I remember when I got the call to do it, I was terrified. What do you mean I have to do it?”
  • On whether he always wanted to be an actor, Bradley Cooper stated: “Always, since I was like 11. There was a movie theater, my backyard was train tracks and a movie theater. I watched movies like The Godfather, Popeye, and I just knew then. and television. I always knew I wanted to do it, but I was terrified, I was shy. But I knew I wanted to do it.”
  • Bradley Cooper said: “We didn’t know what we were making, and weren’t even sure if it was a comedy. We were staying at Caesars Palace in Vegas. I had tiger claws on my neck and no one even looked at us.”
  • Bradley Cooper shared: “I don’t know if you need to have empathy [to play a character
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