Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel International Film Lab will honor Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classic’s co-president and co-founder, with this year’s Force-of-Nature filmmaking award.

The accolade seeks to honor extraordinary personalities committed to the development of cinema. Barker is being recognized for his work as a “cultural master-builder” at United Artists Classics, Orion Classics, and most recently Sony Pictures Classics. Longtime Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick was presented with the inaugural award in 2018.

“Over the last 35 years, passionately as a distributor and producer, Michael Barker (along with Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom) has opened the doors to the finest works of world cinema – from Kurosawa to Fassbinder, from Almodovar to Zhang Yimou and so many more,” said Renen Schorr, the film lab’s founder and director. “Both in art-house and in mainstream — and everything in-between — he chiefly created a cinematic and challenging dialogue between world continents and human beings.”

Barker will receive the award July 4 in Jerusalem, hosted by Israeli directors and producers.

The Sam Spiegel International Film Lab is also set to expand its projects this year by opening up its works-in-progress platform to all of its previous participants as well as graduates of both the film lab and the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School. Last year’s winner, “Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive,” will be released in 2019.