Martin Scorsese will receive the 14th annual Kirk Douglas Award for excellence in film Nov. 14 at a black-tie gala dinner, with proceeds benefiting the Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival’s free year-round educational programs. The event will take place at the Ritz Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara.
Scorsese’s next film, “The Irishman,” will be released by Netflix in theaters this fall. The movie, with a screenplay by Steven Zaillian from the book by Charles Brandt, stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci and is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Spanning decades, it chronicles the still-unsolved disappearance of famed union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a portrait of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.
Scorsese’s roster of films includes “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “Shutter Island,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Silence.” He won a directing Oscar for “The Departed,” which also took home the Academy Award for best film.
The 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place Jan. 15–25, 2020. It’s earlier than usual, but the move makes sense, following the awards calendar shift due to an accelerated Oscar voting schedule. SBIFF has become a key stop for awards hopefuls every year.
Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees are Hugh Jackman, Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta and the first honoree, Kirk Douglas himself.
In a statement, Douglas said, “Martin Scorsese is a brilliant filmmaker. He has made countless unforgettable films and is a true cinematic treasure. I am honored and grateful that he will receive the 14th annual Kirk Douglas Award.”
In the past 34 years, the Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival has become one of the leading fests in the United States. Last year, it attracted 90,000 attendees and offered 11 days of 200-plus films, tributes and panels. Aside from spotlighting the art of film, the festival offers year-round educational experiences for film lovers.
In June 2016, the fest acquired the historic Riviera Theatre, which has become the festival’s year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In May 2019, SBIFF opened its Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning. Roger Durling is executive director of the fest.