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French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening.

Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New Wave icon who starts supporting the Black Panthers and becomes the target of an agressive counter-intelligence program put in place by the FBI.

The Deauville tribute highlighted Stewart’s eclectic acting career through a montage of clips from her key roles in films, including “Panic Room,” “Into The Wild,” “The Twilight,” “The Runaways,” “On The Road,” “Café Society,” “Clouds of Sils Maria,” “Personal Shopper” and the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels.”

“When I think of filmmaking I think family, I imagine great gaps being bridged; messy, gorgeous, ebbs and flows of thoughts and impulse connecting us,” said Stewart who attended the event along with Yvan Attal, her “Seberg” co-star and on-screen husband (as Romain Gary).

“When I think of filmmaking and the entire mythic process of it from these weird tinkering ideas that start small and spread like water… I speak of this like a crazy person and in an environment like this where movies matter and risk is taken and trust is required I feel so right to sound crazy about it,” said Stewart, who won best supporting actress at the Cesar Awards in 2015 for her performance in “Clouds of Sils Maria,”

Assayas said he admired Kirsten for her freedom. “She never made a conventional choice, she never tried to achieve anything else but preserve her independence, in her life, in her acts and in her art,” said Assayas, who won best director at Cannes with “Personal Shopper.”

“This freedom… is much more difficult to achieve for movie stars who are being placed under the microscope of media, who are being subjected on a daily basis to the unbearable pressure of the ‘Hollywood machine,’ its cynicism, its corny sentimentalism, the brutality of power and money struggles,” said Assayas, who is presenting on closing night in Deauville his latest film “Wasp Network,” a thriller based on the true story of the Cuban Five which stars Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez.

“I’m infinitely grateful of her to carry so courageously these values (of freedom and independence) which are so fragile and precious, and to do so not only for herself but for each and everyone,” said Assayas.

Besides Stewart, the other women honored at this 45th edition of Deauville were Sienna Miller (“American Woman”) and Geena Davis (“This Changes Everything”). Sophie Turner (“Heavy, “Game of Thrones”), meanwhile, received the Young Hollywood Award. Spearheaded by artistic director Bruno Barde, this Deauville edition showcased a record number of films directed by women, notably “Port Authority,” “Bull” and “Share” which are competing.

“Seberg,” repped in international markets by Memento Films International, will be released by Amazon Studios in the U.S. UTA repped U.S. rights.

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