Kenneth Branagh, who was recently nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in "My Week with Marilyn" and directed Marvel's "Thor," will be honored with the San Francisco International Film Festival's Founder's Directing Award (in honor of Irving M. Levin). He will be presented with the award on April 26 at The Film Society Awards night (benefitting their Youth Education program) and honored at an Evening with Kenneth Branagh on April 27, during which he will participate in an onstage interview and screen his 1991 sophomore film, thriller "Dead Again." For tickets go here.
SFIFF's interim exec director Melanie Blum singled out for praise Branagh's Shakespeare films as "the most innovative stagings of Shakespeare's work ever put to the screen," as well as "his exceptional skill as an actors' director." His 15 films as a director range from "Henry V" and "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" to a film of Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" and "Sleuth," written by Harold Pinter and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine.
The SFIFF's directing award has gone to such filmmakers as Oliver Stone, USA; Walter Salles, Brazil; Francis Ford Coppola, USA; Mike Leigh, England; Spike Lee, USA; Werner Herzog, Germany; Taylor Hackford, USA; Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia/USA; Robert Altman, USA; Warren Beatty, USA; Clint Eastwood, USA; Abbas Kiarostami, Iran; Arturo Ripstein, Mexico; Im Kwon-Taek, Korea; Francesco Rosi, Italy; Arthur Penn, USA; Stanley Donen, USA; Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal; Ousmane Sembène, Senegal; Satyajit Ray, India; Marcel Carné, France; Jirí Menzel, Czechoslovakia; Joseph L. Mankiewicz, USA; Robert Bresson, France; Michael Powell, England; and Akira Kurosawa, Japan.