Film News Roundup: Willem Dafoe to Be Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival

In today’s film news roundup, Willem Dafoe is honored, August Maturo gets his first feature film, and Fathom Events dates the documentary “Alien Intrusion.”

FESTIVAL AWARD

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival has selected Willem Dafoe for its Icon Award for his performance in “The Florida Project.”

The award will be presented at the festival’s gala on Jan. 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

“Willem Dafoe is a versatile actor who has appeared in over one hundred films in his stellar career,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. “In ‘The Florida Project,’ Dafoe delivers a career defining performance, as a hotel manager overseeing his sometimes unruly residents, which has received numerous critical accolades.”

Past recipients of the Icon Award include Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep. For his performance in the film, Dafoe received best supporting actor recognition from the New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, and the National Board of Review. He has received a best supporting actor nomination from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics’ Association, and Satellite Awards.

Dafoe was nominated for Academy Award supporting actor nominations for “Platoon” and “Shadow of the Vampire.” His other film credits include “To Live and Die in L.A.,” “Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man 2,” “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” “John Wick,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”

CASTING

August Maturo is making his feature-film debut on New Line’s “The Nun,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Maturo starred as Auggie Matthews from 2014-17 on the Disney Channel series “Girl Meets World.” Additional credits include “Teachers,” “The Odd Couple,” “Bones,” “Suburgatory,” “See Dad Run,” “Raising Hope,” “Dads,” and “Weeds.”

Demian Bichir and Taissa Farmiga are starring. The studio began developing “The Nun” last June, shortly after “The Conjuring 2” opened. Producers are James Wan, who directed the two “Conjuring” movies and produced the sequel, and Peter Safran, who produced both movies.

Corin Hardy directed “The Nun,” written by Gary Dauberman and Wan, which centers on Bichir’s character traveling to Rome to investigate the killing of a nun. The demon nun, a manifestation of the evil spirit Valak, came to life in “The Conjuring 2” from a painting by Patrick Wilson’s paranormal investigator Ed Warren and later attacked Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine Warren.

The film opens July 13. Maturo is represented by Paradigm, Mills Kaplan Entertainment, and attorney Eric Suddleson.

SPECIAL EVENT

Fathom Events, KAOS Connect and Creation Ministries International are presenting the documentary, “Alien Intrusion: Unmasking A Deception” on Jan. 11 at more than 700 theaters.

The showings will include an exclusive interview with author and producer, Gary Bates, along with others who have personally experienced the UFO phenomenon.

“We’ve extensively researched the UFO and extraterrestrial phenomenon from all sides,” Bates said. “We have spoken with scientists, experts and even people who claim to have had encounters with beings not of this world. Our documentary, ‘Alien Intrusion’ delves deeper than any before it. We believe it provides a definitive answer to this seemingly baffling mystery.”

Shelly Maxwell of KAOS Connect, “This riveting documentary includes spine-chilling, first-person testimony of ‘alien visitation’ experiences that Bates, researchers, scientists and theologians all believe to be real, but for reasons that are different from long-standing popular beliefs. Bates provides compelling answers that challenge common perceptions, origins and meanings of these visitations. His conclusions left me awestruck.”

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