One of the most exciting aspects of our festival each and every year is our community's interest in paying tribute to filmmakers, actors and producers; The creative people who have made a siginifcant contribution to the art of film. We honor artists in several different ways and for several different reasons, and this year is no exception. I want to talk about them all, but I wanted to start with Norman Jewison, the legendary Director and one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.
When Mr. Jewison agreed to accept the festival's 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Filmmaking (whew, that's a mouthful!), our festival's highest honor, I was thrilled; I don't think there is another Director working today who has a more diverse or powerful body of work. Just look at that corpus! Don't feel like clicking? How about two Doris Day romantic comedies (Send Me No Flowers and The Thrill Of It All), two Steve McQueen thrillers (The Cincinnati Kid and the über-hip The Thomas Crown Affair), two definitive musicals (Jesus Christ Superstar and Fiddler On The Roof), three powerful films about the issues surrounding racial justice in the USA (In The Heat Of The Night, A Soldier's Story and The Hurricane), a definitive romantic comedy in Moonstruck, the still-hilarious The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (which launched Alan Arkin's career), F.I.S.T., Rollerball, ...And Justice For All; It's dizzying to think that a single artist is responsible for this vast array of work. When you think about Mr. Jewison's ability to move between genres, tones, styles, well, it's hard not to be a feel a little but of awe. I've put together a small retrospective of Mr. Jewison's work for this year's festival, and we're showing 35mm prints of many of his best films.
The Sarasota Film Festival's 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Norman jewison
To frost the cake, Robert Osbourne and the good folks at Turner Classic Movies are bringing their cameras to the Festival, and we will be hosting TCM's taping of their Private Screenings series at the Historic Asolo Theater with Mr. Jewison. Then, it's on to the Tribute Dinner, where Mr. Jewison is one of our guests of honor. Looking back over the past two years, I've been able to host Robert Towne, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog and now Norman Jewison as honorees at the festival; I'm not sure it gets any better than that. I am very much looking forward to having Mr. Jewison here and talking with him about his storied career.