Avignon film fest to toast Linklater

Director will receive ten-year wine supply

PARIS — Indie stalwart Richard Linklater will receive the second annual Prix Chateauneuf at the awards ceremony for the 24th Avignon Film Festival, which runs June 21-24. 

Unlike a Palme d’Or, Golden Bear or Golden Lion, which you’re expected to lug home yourself, kudo  — guaranteed to turn any cinephile into an oenophile —  consists of a case of the venerable Rhone Valley libation delivered to the winner’s home annually for the next 10 years.

The choice of the well-rounded iconoclast behind pics from “Slacker” to “Fast Food Nation” by way of “School of Rock” and “Before Sunset” was made by members of the Federation of Wine Growers of Chateauneuf du Pape, who consider their profession as independent vintners to  mesh nicely with the artisanal bent of a helmer like Linklater and the prize’s first laureate, John Turturro.

“Great vines are a lot like people, oddly enough,” says fest founder and director Jerome Rudes. “They live to be roughly 100 and their most productive years start in their 30s.  This is a career achievement award for filmmakers who still have a lot of good movies in them yet to come.”

The compact, unpretentious fest programs U.S. and European indie features, as well as docus that vie for the Pierre Salinger prize.  Event  boasts an excellent shorts competition, with 14 titles in the running this year.

In addition to Linklater, who brought “Slacker” to Avignon 15 years ago, Tom DiCillio will be on hand for a mini-retrospective, capped by “Delirious.”  Other guests expected include Maria de Medeiros and Costa Gavras.

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