UPDATED: The San Diego International Film Festival revealed that actor and filmmaker Simon Helberg will receive its 2016 Auteur Award. The trophy will be presented Sept 29th at The Night of the Stars Tribute at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
Chris Kelly’s dramedy “Other People,” starring Molly Shannon, will open the fest on Sept. 28 (“Killing Hasselhoff” was initially announced as the opening night film). Otto Bell’s documentary “The Eagle Huntress,” distributed by Sony Pictures Classics,” will close the fest on Oct. 2.
The Auteur Award recognizes a multi-talented actor who brings unique personal visions to his or her craft. Helberg has earned acclaim for his performances on both the big and small screen, as well as behind the camera as a writer and director.
He most recently received good reviews for his role opposite Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in Stephen Frears’ “Florence Foster Jenkins.” He is perhaps best-known as one of the stars of CBS’ long-running sitcom hit “The Big Bang Theory.”
Helberg made his feature directorial debut in 2015 with “We’ll Never Have Paris,” which had its world premiere at the 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival. He wrote the script, stars as the lead, and co-directed the film with his wife, writer/director Jocelyn Towne. Additional acting credits include “A Serious Man,” from Ethan and Joel Coen, and George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
“Simon has had an incredible past couple years of creating dynamic characters on screen as well as fostering his own vision as a filmmaker, and we are proud to honor him with this year’s Auteur Award” said Tonya Mantooth, the festival’s executive and artistic director.
The fest also announced the addition of Garth Davis’s “Lion,” starring Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and Dev Patel, at a special screening.
Director Theodore Melfi returns to SDiFF with a first look at footage from his new film, “Hidden Figures.” “Access Hollywood’s” Scott Mantz will lead a discussion with Melfi following the footage presentation. The film tells the story Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — three brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
SDiFF screenings will take place in the newly renovated historic Balboa Theater and Regal Theaters in downtown San Diego, and at ArcLight Cinemas in La Jolla. Fest will run Sept. 28 through Oct. 2. It was founded in 2001 and is produced by the nonprofit San Diego Film Foundation.