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Cannes: Drafthouse Acquires Jean Dujardin Crime Thriller ‘La French’

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 5:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

dujardinDespite the tepid expectations going into Cannes, the festival turned out to be prolific with deals. In the latest, Drafthouse Films acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Cedric Jimenez’s period crime thriller La French, starring Jean Dujardin. This was a pre-buy based on an eight minute sizzle reel shown at Cannes. The buzz on that reel also got Jimenez signed by WME. It’s the first collaboration between Gaumont and Drafthouse Films. Alain Goldman and Legende Films produced the pic and Dujardin stars with Gilles Lellouche. Gaumont International head Cecile Gaget and Yohann Comte brokered the deal with Drafthouse’s James Shapiro and Tim League.

La French takes place in the late 1970s in Marseille and is based on the true story of the judge who tried to stop the French Connection, one of the most powerful drug organizations of its time. The film spans Marseille, which was the world capital of drug trafficking and the main supplier of heroin in the U.S., and NYC.

“One of our goals is to get young audiences excited about foreign language film,” says Drafthouse Films founder and CEO Tim League. “We combed the market and devoured the official selections. Nothing excited us more than La French.”

La French was shot on 35mm and will be screened theatrically in select venues in 35mm along with a collection of vintage 35mm classic crime trailers curated by Cedric Jimenez. Drafthouse Films also plans a limited edition VHS release … Read More »

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OSCARS: Last Year’s Acting Winners Returning To Present

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 9:07am PST

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Last year’s Academy Award® winners Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer will return to present on this year’s telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.

“We are honored to have Meryl, Octavia, Christopher and Jean, last year’s Oscar winners in each of the acting categories, return to the Oscar stage,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Streep, who is the most nominated actor with 17 nominations, has won three Academy Awards®, including last year’s lead actress award for her performance in “The Iron Lady.” Dujardin won the award for his lead performance in the Best Picture winner “The Artist,” it was his first nomination. Spencer, also a first time nominee, took home the Oscar for her supporting role in Best Picture nominee “The Help.” Plummer, who has twice been nominated, won the award for his supporting role in “Beginners.”

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George Clooney Sets Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin For WWII Drama ‘Monuments Men’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: What a killer cast George Clooney has put together for The Monuments Men, the period drama he will direct in a co-production between Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Clooney will star with Skyfall‘s Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, Argo‘s John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban.

The drama, which was scripted by Clooney and partner Grant Heslov, confronts the final chapter of Germany’s rule, which came down to the absolute destruction of everything that makes a culture keep its standing, including the lives that are lost and the sacrifices that are made. All of this is in danger of being lost forever as Hitler and the Nazis try to cover the tracks of a murderous regime. A crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art that were stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. Read More »

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Oscar Winners & Martial Arts Champs Top MPI Pictures Launch Slate

By | Wednesday April 25, 2012 @ 11:23am PDT

MPI Media Group announced today the formation of MPI Pictures. The theatrical distribution arm of the Chicago-based entertainment company will specialize in the release of foreign language art films, American independent films and high-end genre. And they are hitting the ground running – MPI Pictures already has a slate of seven films, one of which came out last week and another of which has two Oscar winners in it. The mixed martial arts documentary Fightville opened to a limited release in New York and LA on April 20. It is also currently the number one independent film on iTunes. The Artist’s Jean Dujardin and La Vie en Rose’s Marion Cotillard star in the French dramatic hit Little White Lies, directed by Guillaume Canet. Little White Lies is to be released on August 24, 2012. Other films to be released by MPI Pictures include Americano starring Mathieu Demy and Salma Hayek and the thriller The Big Picture starring Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve. Greg Newman, MPI Media Group Executive VP will lead the new division. Marie Therese Guirgis will be head of Theatrical Distribution. With new acquisitions coming in the next few months, a source close to the company tells Deadline, MPI Pictures plans on releasing a slate of six to eight films every year.

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OSCARS: The Good, The Bad And The Uggie — Hammond Analysis

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 4:29am PST
Pete Hammond

In the end it was mostly predictable. The only stunning surprise of the 84th Annual Academy Awards was that somehow The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo came out of nowhere to win the Best Film Editing award, something no pundit I know of saw coming. But it served to stop the early momentum of Hugo, which at one point was leading front-runner The Artist  5 awards to 1. Was Harvey Weinstein nervous that there could be an upset brewing over his heavily favored film? No. When I caught up with him at the Governors Ball, he said he was just enjoying the show and not keeping tabs. Eventually Artist caught up and won all the big ones — the Oscars everyone was predicting including Best Picture, Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin in addition to music and costumes. I am told The Weinstein Company plans to expand the little-film-that-could to 2000 screens by next weekend in what should be a real test of Oscar’s drawing power at the boxoffice. So far after a little over three months the film has just grossed over $30 million domestically. Weinstein will hope to double that with an Oscar bounce.

Among those congratulating Weinstein was Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux, who proudly championed the film at last May’s fest, even switching it from out of competition to a competition slot, where it won the first Best … Read More »

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Oscars Winners List 2012: ‘The Artist’, Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, ‘Midnight In Paris’, ‘The Descendants,’ ‘The Muppets’, Christopher Plummer, ‘Rango’, ‘Hugo’, Octavia Spencer

By | Sunday February 26, 2012 @ 5:24pm PST

OSCARS: The Good, The Bad And The Uggie — Hammond Analysis
Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The Oscars
OSCARS: Who Wore What On The Red Carpet
OSCARS: Wins By Studio
OSCARS: Wins By Film
Backstage At The Academy Awards

Best Picture
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company)
A La Petite Reine/Studio 37/La Classe Américaine/JD Prod/France3 Cinéma/Jouror Productions/uFilm Production, Thomas Langmann, Producer

Actress in a Leading Role
Meryl Streep
“The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company)

Actor in a Leading Role
Jean Dujardin
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company)

Directing
Michel Hazanavicius
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Read More »

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OSCARS: Backstage At Academy Awards: ‘Artist’ Producer On Movie’s Color Version, ‘Artist’ Director On His Next Project & More

By | Sunday February 26, 2012 @ 5:20pm PST

Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The Oscars
Oscar Winners List

Brian Brooks, Diane Haithman and Anthony D’Alessandro are contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage

After his success with a silent film, how does French actor Jean Dujardin plan to transition back to talkies? “I’m not an American actor, I’m French,” the Best Actor winner said tonight backstage at the Academy Awards. “If I could make another silent movie in America, I would. But I’ll always be a French actor in America. Nonetheless, there are a few ideas I would like to develop.” Dujardin admitted that in the French portion of his acceptance speech he dropped the equivalent of the F-bomb.“I said thank you so much! It was amazing … uh, yeah, I guess I said that.” And as far as the whereabouts of his four-legged co-star Uggie, “He went to bed already,” Dujardin said.

“H-i-i-i-i-i,” drawled Meryl Streep when she finally showed up in the press room long after the show was over to talk about her Best Actress win for The Iron Lady. She was immediately asked to address her self-deprecating comments during her acceptance speech: “When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no. Oh, come on. Why her? Again?” Streep acknowledged she thinks she may be “pushing the tolerance” of the Academy and the fans after 17 nominations and three wins. “I understand ‘Streep Fatigue,’ I really do,” she later said. “Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t override this tonight.” But getting another Oscar was thrilling, Streep said, adding that she might take a nip of whiskey like Thatcher to celebrate. “I thought I was so old and jaded, but they call your name and you just sort of go into a white light. I was like a kid again,” she said, joking that two of her fellow nominees “were not even conceived” when she won her first Oscar. She also said she was excited by the win of her Iron Lady makeup artists earlier in the evening “not for making a monster, but for making a human being.” Streep confirmed that she wore Ferragamo shoes, Margaret Thatcher’s favorite, to get into character. She did not meet Thatcher, noting, “the challenge was to imagine her present life.” Streep was asked how it felt to see herself for the first time in makeup as Thatcher.  She said the change was so gradual there was no shock, but one thing was unnerving. “When we first had the old age makeup on, I saw my Dad. Maybe my Dad looked like Margaret Thatcher.”

By the time The Artist producer Thomas Langmann made his way backstage, there wasn’t much left to say about how très excited the cast, producers and creative team were about the film’s endless stream of awards culminating in a Best Picture Oscar. Langmann was asked about an earlier backstage comment by Artist costume designer Mark Bridges that the black-and-white film had been shot in color in case they were unable to sell it in black and white in some markets. Asked if he had any plans for that color footage, Langmann replied cheerfully, “No. Sorry, but no.” He spoke about producer Harvey Weinstein. “Harvey has been really good to us,” Langmann said. “I asked him to come a month before Cannes with a director and cast he’d barely heard of. But he came. I stayed in the screening room to see if everything was OK. He loved the movie and was laughing throughout.  I saw in his eyes and attitude that he cared for the movie. He believed that we could possibly be here today. He’s the only distributor who could take this movie here today.” Weinstein was not The Artist‘s only good luck charm — Langmann acknowledged that he had a lucky coin in his pocket given to him by his daughter. As for the possible impact from the success of The Artist, the first silent movie to win a best picture Oscar since the first Academy Awards ceremony 83 years ago, “if The Artist can help another producer be audacious, this is a great thing,” Langmann said. “I’ve shown this movie to kids. Some had never seen a black-and-white movie and after five-10 minutes, they enjoyed it. Silence is a way of telling a story. It’s an experience and maybe it’s as great as a 3D experience.” Read More »

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Alliance Bulks Up With 16 Pics Including Dustin Hoffman Directing Debut ‘Quartet’

By | Wednesday February 22, 2012 @ 12:49am PST

Multi-territory distributor Alliance Films has announced the acquisition of 16 titles to go out via Alliance Films in Canada, Aurum Producciones in Spain and Momentum Pictures in the UK and Ireland. Last week, I exclusively reported from the EFM on Momentum’s acquisition of François Ozon’s In The House and Regis Roisnard’s Populaire for the UK and Ireland. Included in that report were pick-ups of other buzz titles like Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man and Steven Soderbergh’s Bitter Pill in what Alliance SVP of acquisitions and production Robert Walak told me was a better than expected market. Among the additional films Alliance has now confirmed acquiring are Jean Dujardin’s infidelity comedy The Players and Catherine Hardwicke’s erotic thriller Plush with Evan Rachel Wood for the UK and Ireland and Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet with Maggie Smith, Read More »

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BAFTA Awards: What ‘Artist’, Dujardin, Streep Wins Mean For Oscar – Hammond

Pete Hammond

If there was any question before today’s British Academy Film Awards that The Artist was the film to beat for the Oscars, the results in London just cemented it, and in an impressive sweep that portends big things. It wasn’t just the expected awards for Picture, Director, Music Score, Costumes. It was also another Best Actor notch in Jean Dujardin’s belt following his all-important SAG win two weeks ago. It also scored less obvious BAFTA trophies  for its black and white Cinematography and most surprisingly for director Michel Hazanavicius’ Original Screenplay, a category widely predicted to go to Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris. A writing award for a screenplay of a essentially dialogue-less movie surprised even Hazanavicius who has told me he expects to lose in this category to his idol, Allen.  It just goes to show the amount of love this film has gotten, not only from critics but the industry where it has also won key PGA and DGA honors. BAFTA, like those groups has a large crossover of Academy members. As much as one sixth of the entire Academy voting bloc are also members of BAFTA.

Last year’s BAFTA winners for Picture , Actor and Actress (The King’s Speech’s Colin Firth and Black Swan’s Natalie Portman) all repeated at the Oscars although oddly Social Network’s David Fincher beat hometown boy Tom Hooper in the directing contest while King’s Speech co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter took Supporting awards only to lose … Read More »

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Live From NY, It’s Jean Dujardin On ‘SNL!’

By | Saturday February 11, 2012 @ 8:00pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that The Artist star Jean Dujardin will make a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live in an hour or so. From what I’m told, the producers wanted him, and it was a dream of his to do the show. So he flew in Friday from Paris for rehearsals, and flies right out in the morning to London for the BAFTAs. This is what you go through when you are a frontrunner for Best Actor and the voting closes on February 21. I understand that he does a bit of dancing in his segment on the show in an Artist-flavored edition of SNL‘s recurring Les Jeunes de Paris dancing sketches starring Taran Killam.

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OSCARS Q&A: ‘The Artist’s Jean Dujardin On His Doubts About The Black-And-White Silent Film And The Joy Of Taking Risks

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:28pm PST

It’s easy to pass off Jean Dujardin’s swath through awards season as the stuff manufactured by Weinstein machines. Hardly so. When SAG awarded its best acting prize to the unknown French actor Stateside over Hollywood fave George Clooney, it was clear that the status quo voted with their hearts. The Academy felt the same way, bestowing upon him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. While Clooney morphs his dramatic essence from Michael Clayton through The Descendants, Dujardin — a Clooney-type in his homeland — trumps with his bygone set of dancing and mime skills. Dujardin admits he was daunted by challenges of portraying Hollywood silent film actor George Valentin — a composite of Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly, topped off by the French actor’s uncanny Clark Gable mug. But he’s just being modest: Check out his previous collaboration with The Artist helmer Michel Hazanavicius, the 0SS 117 franchise, and it’s obvious that the actor’s physical talents were already there, the local comedy a mere warm-up before his graduation to silent black-and-white shtick. He spoke with AwardsLine’s Anthony D’Alessandro via a translator about his awards-season run.

AWARDSLINE: I understand you were hesitant before committing to The Artist because it was a silent movie. What worried you?
DUJARDIN: The unknown. I didn’t know King Vidor’s movies and I was worried that Michel would ask me to uphold the entire film. I didn’t want to do a sub-category of Chaplin. Chaplin is unique, but there’s only one. Michel said “No, I want to make a love story.” And he told that with the camera. But there was a short week of doubt of “What am I getting myself into?” Then I regretted ever thinking like that because I never think of the completed film, rather the adventure of what I’m about to live. Read More »

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Funny Or Die: Jean Dujardin’s Next Roles

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:09am PST

There’s a nice Deadline shoutout at the very end of the video…

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Who Wants A Jean-George Sandwich?

By | Tuesday February 7, 2012 @ 11:23am PST

84th Academy Awards Nominees Photo

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Racy Jean Dujardin Poster Shows Media Reaching For Controversy In Oscar Race

By | Saturday February 4, 2012 @ 2:48pm PST
Mike Fleming

In its first official comment since stories began appearing about a racy one-sheet featuring The Artist star Jean Dujardin holding a woman by the ankles to promote the comedy Les Infideles, Wild Bunch confirms it has removed the posters and said the billboard posting agency hired by distributor Mars Films dropped the ball by not getting approvals from ARPP, the regulation council. The Wild Bunch veep of international distribution in charge of Les Infideles, Carole Baraton, said that the movie has been well reviewed and described the film as “charged with fierce humor against male unfaithfulness.”

It’s certainly bad timing those unapproved posters were hung during the Oscar balloting period, and yeah, some of the images are pretty tacky. But press reports inferring this could hurt Dujardin’s chances for a Best Actor Oscar (he won the SAG Award) seem preposterous. The poster was meant to be a spoof of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, and it is reminiscent of spoofs like the Naked Gun films. Dujardin made the film with his wife, Alexandra Lamy, and made his name in France doing spoof comedies like the OSS 117 films. Trying to turn this into a scandal seems a real stretch.

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WME Signs ‘The Artist’ Star Jean Dujardin

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 11:06am PST
Mike Fleming

WME has signed Jean Dujardin, who won Best Actor in Sunday’s SAG Awards, as well as Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globes.

The Oscar-nominated French actor has Les Infideles (aka The Players), which opens in France on February 2 and has been picked up by The Weinstein Company for U.S. Dujardin next stars in Eric Rochant’s spy thriller Mobius, opposite Cecile de France.

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SAG, DGA Results Split Between ‘Artist’ And ‘The Help’ Adding Intrigue To Oscar Race: Hammond

Pete Hammond

The Help’s Viola Davis certainly got a leg up in her fierce Best Actress race against The Weinstein Company’s duo Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams, and Help’s Octavia Spencer continued on her supporting actress roll that started in earnest with the Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards. But the Outstanding Cast award that also went to The Help let that Dreamworks film rack up one of the biggest single film hauls in the Screen Actors Guild Awards’ 18-year history. Only two other films, American Beauty in 1999 and Chicago in 2002, match Help’s three wins out of five film categories. Interestingly, both went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. A good omen? In this case it probably doesn’t lend as much weight for the Oscar Best Picture race as pundits normally give to SAG’s cast award, which is often thought of as their version of Best Picture.

The Oscar nominations earlier this week showed no love throughout the individual branches of the Academy except the large actors group which gave it three nominations (Davis, Spencer and another supporting actress contender Jessica Chastain) to go with its Best Picture nod. With no directing, writing or editing (not to mention song, costumes, art direction where it also might have competed) the odds are very long that The Help can use its impressive showing at SAG to propel it into a dogfight with frontrunner The Artist. With Oscar ballots shipping on Wednesday … Read More »

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Paris Rendez-Vous: Wild Bunch To Offer 8 New Titles, Screen Jean Dujardin’s ‘Players’

By | Wednesday January 4, 2012 @ 3:25am PST

EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch has added eight French projects to its lineup ahead of the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris next week. They include works from the talent behind such films as Of Gods And Men, A Prophet and Tell No One, and I’ve got a preview of them below.

The Rendez-Vous brings out some 450 international buyers to sample the wares of local sales companies — and soak up a lot of champagne. Sponsored by France’s film export body Unifrance, it’s a must-attend on the calendar for indie distributors who spend four days at a market and screenings in Paris’ Opéra Garnier district. Although not a lot of business is transacted during the event per se, it remains a key opportunity for French sales companies to offer a glimpse at locally produced films that will circulate throughout the year. Wild Bunch typically uses the Rendez-Vous as a platform for its French pics. Last year, Vincent Maraval and his team started talking about eventual Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss, which Sundance Selects later picked up. In 2010, the company emphasized Of Gods And Men, which ultimately won the Cannes Grand Prize and the Best Picture César and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. This year, along with talking up the new French projects, Wild Bunch will screen The Players for the first time. The star-studded series of vignettes about infidelity is from a group of directors that includes The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin (starring here in his first role since The Artist). It sold well during AFM while the new titles are also ones to watch given the company’s track record with some of the biggest exports of recent years.

Among those new titles are Tell No One producer Alain Attal’s 14 million euros Populaire, an already buzzy Mad Men-era typing competition romcom starring Romain Duris, Deborah François and Artist breakout Bérénice Bejo. Another romantic comedy on the slate, director Valérie Donzelli’s Hand In Hand, sees a mirror maker with a taste for hip-hop and an opera dance director befallen by a strange phenomenon that leaves them forced to mimic each other’s movements. Wild Bunch recently handled Donzelli’s Declaration Of War, which is this year’s Oscar entry from France. The company is also repping Fidélité Films’ Renoir, about the relationship between artist Auguste Renoir, his filmmaker son Jean and the muse they once shared. Michel Bouquet stars. Also on the slate, Of Gods And Men co-screenwriter Etienne Comar and Vendome Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet are producing Haute Cuisine, based on the true story of French president François Mitterrand and his personal cook.
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Post-Production Chaos In France Spurs Damage Control To Stem Losses

By | Thursday December 22, 2011 @ 10:13am PST

With a large portion of Paris’ post-production facilities facing liquidation, French film body the CNC today expanded a task force to help stem potential losses. The difficulties at Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Industries, which notably includes lab LTC and visual effects specialist Duran Duboi, have led some producers and distributors to fear for projects they have underway at the companies. I reported last week that copies of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo had recently been held hostage at LTC when workers protested the liquidation. This week, technical industry lobby group FICAM laid out a list of 36 films whose future it said was endangered by the financial turmoil. The org feared creditors would seize servers at Quinta’s labs, resulting in the loss of film sequences and millions of euros worth of work. FICAM’s report included Fidélité’s big budget Asterix And Obelix 3D: God Save Britannia whose effects were being handled by Duran Duboi. But ahead of the crisis meeting, producer Marc Missonnier told me the film was not at risk. “We have a copy of all of the rushes,” he said adding that the extra costs incurred will be “absorbable.” Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval, who is handling sales on Asterix, played down the issue when I spoke with him. The flurry of French press and TV reports claiming the film could be in trouble “gave me like 700,000 euros worth of free publicity,” he said. Maraval also confirmed The Artist star Jean … Read More »

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‘The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo To Be Honored At Santa Barbara Fest

Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by lynda.com, will bestow Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo with the Cinema Vanguard Award on Saturday February 4, 2012. The actors will be honored for their performances in the silent film The Artist with a tribute at the Arlington Theatre at the 27th edition of the Festival which runs January 26-February 5, 2012, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. The Cinema Vanguard Award was created in recognition of an actor who has forged his/her own path – taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film. The award has previously been presented to Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ryan Gosling.

Dujardin remarked, “We are grateful to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for this incredible honor. Delivering a silent film to the 21st century is no easy task, and it would have in no way been possible without the talent and dedication of the incredible ensemble of actors we had the pleasure of working with: James Cromwell, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle and Malcolm McDowell. This award is just as much for them as it is for us.”

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