French kiss for SPC

Gaul honors studio's prexy trio with arts medal

The cultural division of the French Embassy on Monday conferred the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters upon Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom.

Ceremony, hosted by French cultural counselor Jean-Rene Gehan, recognized SPC’s contributions to the arts.

Award was established in 1957; past recipients include Jim Jarmusch, Robert Redford, Susan Sontag and Meryl Streep.

Gehan praised the SPC troika for bringing cultural and artistic diversity to American and worldwide audiences. He expressed personal gratitude for the numerous French pics, in particular, that Sony Pictures Classics has released.

“It’s great to receive this award from a group that is normally pretty stingy in granting awards,” Bloom joked.

Inspirations

Bernard, who recalled meeting Jean-Luc Godard in 1972 while an undergrad, said he had learned from French helmers to respect the auteur. Barker singled out Columbia U. professor Annette Insdorf for introducing SPC to Francois Truffaut, which led to company’s distribution of “The Last Metro” in the U.S.

Among attendees were Candice Bergen, New Yorker Films’ Dan Talbot, New York Film Fest head Richard Pena, John Sloss, David Linde and Bart Walker.

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