filmmaker Mira Nair

Filmmaker Mira Nair will be honored with the Irving M. Levin Directing Award at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival taking place April 21 to May 5, 2016.

Given each year to one of the masters of world cinema in memory of SFIFF founder Irving M. Levin, the tribute acknowledges exceptional versatility in film and honors the director’s expansive body of work while celebrating her unique contributions to the art of cinema.

Nair will also be honored at An Afternoon with Mira Nair at the Castro Theatre on Sunday April 24. An onstage conversation with Nair will be followed by a screening of Monsoon Wedding (2001).

Queen of Katwe
Queen of Katwe

The presentation will also include an exclusive first look at special footage from Nair’s next project , about a rural Ugandan girl with an aptitude for chess, starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.

Mira Nair was born and raised in Rourkela, India and went on to study at Delhi and Harvard universities. She began as an actress before segueing to make documentaries. Her narrative feature debut, Salaam Bombay! (1988) won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. A resourceful and determined independent filmmaker who casts unknowns alongside Hollywood stars, Nair has directed Mississippi Masala (1991), The Perez Family (1995), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Hysterical Blindness (2002), Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), Amelia (2009) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012).

Monsoon Wedding: Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion in 2001, Monsoon Wedding is a film of gigantic heart served with an ample dollop of social satire. Five romantic entanglements threaten to derail a high-end New Delhi marriage as the film effortlessly shifts between Bollywood expressionism and Altman-like character intrigue, gut-busting comedy and tender romance.

Previous recipients are Guillermo del Toro, Mexico; Richard Linklater, USA; Philip Kaufman, USA; Kenneth Branagh, England; Oliver Stone, USA; Walter Salles, Brazil; Francis Ford Coppola, USA; Mike Leigh, England; Spike Lee, USA; Werner Herzog, Germany; Taylor Hackford, USA; Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia/USA; Robert Altman, USA; Warren Beatty, USA; Clint Eastwood, USA; Abbas Kiarostami, Iran; Arturo Ripstein, Mexico; Im Kwon-Taek, South Korea; Francesco Rosi, Italy; Arthur Penn, USA; Stanley Donen, USA; Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal; Ousmane Sembène, Senegal; Satyajit Ray, India; Marcel Carné, France; Jirí Menzel, Czechoslovakia; Joseph L. Mankiewicz, USA; Robert Bresson, France; Michael Powell, England; and Akira Kurosawa, Japan.

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