Bruce Beresford, the two-time Academy Award nominated writer/director will be presented with the 2010 Honorary Maverick Award by the Woodstock Film Festival, during its Gala Award Ceremony, Saturday evening, October 2, at BSP Studios in Kingston, NY.
“We are thrilled to be presenting our Honorary Maverick Award to Bruce Beresford this year,” said WFF Co-Founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein. “Throughout his extensive body of work, Beresford has exhibited unique talent, drawing award winning performances from his actors while subtly creating stories filled with humanity, nuances and discontent. His ability to masterfully bring heart, soul, and social critique to all of his work distinguishes him as a true maverick.”
Insightful, politically conscious dramas, Beresford’s intelligent works of art depict real-life characters locked in life and death struggles with dark elements of their societies. In his films, characters have lived in a collection of vastly different environments from the Irish courts of the 1950s, to the pre-civil rights south; from the harsh world of seventeenth century Canada to a British military camp during the Boer War; yet in every struggle, Beresford’s characters always valiantly fight for compassion, truth and justice.
Woodstock’s dedication to the same values his characters espouse could be what brought him to Woodstock for his upcoming project Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding starring Jane Fonda., Catherine Keener and Chase Crawford
A native of Australia, Beresford graduated Sydney University in 1962, afterwards traveling to England seeking film work. After spending two years in Nigeria editing films, he returned to Australia, where he made his directorial debut in 1972. His international reputation blossomed as part of the Australian new wave, when the astonishing courtroom drama Breaker Morant (1980) won major awards and the screenplay, which Beresford co-wrote, was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1983, Beresford helmed Tender Mercies which was nominated for five Academy Awards. The extraordinarily successful Driving Miss Daisy (1989) was nominated for nine Academy Awards, won four including best picture, best actress (Jessica Tandy), and best screenplay (Alfred Uhry).
“As a kid growing up in outback Australia I always wanted to be a film director,” Beresford reminisced. “Now, at age 70 (!) I am so lucky to have made films all over the world, including a number in America – where I have been welcomed and made so many friends. To be honored at Woodstock is a great thrill for me, the recognition (but not the finale, I hope) of my 50 years in the film industry.”
An extremely talented director of actors, Beresford has directed six stars in Academy Award nominated performances (Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Tess Harper, Morgan Freeman, Tandy, and Dan Aykroyd) as well as being nominated for two Academy Awards himself both for directing (Tender Mercies) and writing (Breaker Morant).
Beresford’s work includes: Breaker Morant (1980); Tender Mercies (1983); Driving Miss Daisy (1989); Black Robe (1991); Double Jeopardy (1999); Evelyn (2002) and Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2010).
The Honorary Maverick Award is given each year to an individual whose life and work is based on creativity, independent vision and social activism. Previous recipients include Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Christine Vachon, Barbara Kopple, Tim Robbins, Les Blank, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Woody Harrelson, Mira Nair and Steve Buscemi.
The 11th annual Woodstock Film Festival will take place September 29-October 3, 2010. The “fiercely independent” festival includes more than 150 films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Kingston, Rhinebeck and Rosendale.