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Mira Nair Tapped for San Francisco Film Festival Award

The San Francisco Film Society has named filmmaker Mira Nair the recipient of the Irving M. Levin Directing Award.

She will be presented the award at the April 25 awards ceremonies at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival at the Fort Mason Center’s Herbst Pavilion. The award is given each year in memory of the festival’s founder Irving M. Levin.

Nair will also be honored at “An Afternoon With Mira Nair” at the Castro Theatre on April 24 with an onstage conversation followed by a screening of “Monsoon Wedding,” which won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion in 2001. The presentation will also include an exclusive first look at special footage from Nair’s next project “Queen of Katwe,” about a rural Ugandan girl with an aptitude for chess, starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.

“Mira Nair has brilliantly bridged American and South Asian film traditions for more than 30 years, and it is a distinct pleasure to award her with the Film Society’s highest honor for directing,” said executive director Noah Cowan. “I can’t think of anyone who better embodies the spirit of internationalism, independence and passionate storytelling that defines our festival, and I can’t wait to celebrate her with a screening of one of her greatest films and to get an early look at what she’s working on next.”

Nair was born and raised in Rourkela, India. Her narrative feature debut “Salaam Bombay!” won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign language film. Nair has also directed “Mississippi Masala,” “The Perez Family,” “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love,” “Hysterical Blindness,” “Vanity Fair,” “The Namesake,” “Amelia” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

The awards event will also honor Peter Coyote as the recipient of the George Gund III Award for outstanding contributions to the craft of cinema.

The festival has also selected Wesley Morris, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for film criticism, to deliver its State of Cinema Address on April 30 at the Victoria Theatre. Morris will discuss the radicalization of Sidney Poitier and how it parallels the current climate of race in the movies.

Morris was recently appointed as Critic at Large for the New York Times.

The festival announced last week that it would open April 21 with Whit Stillman’s “Love & Friendship,” starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, at the Castro Theatre. It has also set James Schamus’ directorial debut “Indignation,” starring Logan Lerman, as its centerpiece event on April 30 at the Victoria Theatre.

The festival will come to a close May 5 at the Castro with local director Jesse Moss’ documentary “The Bandit.” Other films screening are “Author: The JT Leroy Story,” “The Family Fang,” “Five Nights in Maine,” “Frank & Lola” and “High-Rise.”

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