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Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn, a legend of stage and screen, will receive the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival taking place April 21 – May 5, 2016.

The award will be presented to Burstyn at Film Society Awards Night, Monday April 25, at Fort Mason Center – Herbst Pavilion.

The Film Society and its year-round exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs will benefit from the Film Society Awards Night fundraiser honoring Ellen Burstyn. The star-studded event will also honor Mira Nair, recipient of the Irving M. Levin Directing Award; Tom McCarthy, recipient of the Kanbar Award for excellence in storytelling; and Peter Coyote, who will receive the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award. One of the city’s most highly anticipated cultural events, Film Society Awards Night is co-chaired by Heidi Castelein and Victoria Raiser and sponsored by Net-a-Porter.

“Ellen Burstyn’s extraordinary career in film and television has provided some of cinema’s most indelible performances,” said SFFS Executive Director Noah Cowan. “She has collaborated with some of the medium’s finest directors over many years and in a remarkable range of genres. Her recent performance in Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog is perhaps her bravest yet — caustic, sincere and unforgettable.”

Ellen Burstyn will also be publicly honored at An Afternoon with Ellen Burstyn at Victoria Theatre, Saturday April 23, 2:00 pm. An onstage interview and a selection of clips from Burstyn’s notable acting career will be followed by a screening of Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000), in which Burstyn delivers an Oscar-nominated performance.

Ellen Burstyn’s illustrious 60-year acting career encompasses film, stage and television. In 1975, she became the third woman in history to win both the Tony Award and the Academy Award in the same year, for her work in Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year on Broadway and in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, for which she also received a Golden Globe nomination and a British Academy Award for Best Actress. She became a “triple crown winner” when she won her first Emmy for a guest appearance in Law & Order: SVU (2009), to add to her Oscar and Tony. In addition to a second Emmy for USA’s miniseries Political Animals in 2013, Ellen has received four other Emmy and five other Oscar nominations. In 2014, she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and honored with the Mary Pickford Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Press Academy. In 2015, she received the Bronze Horse Award at the Stockholm Film Festival.

Films released later this year include James Lapine’s Custody and Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog, screening at SFIFF59. She appears in the current season of CBS’s Mom with Allison Janney and season four of Netflix’s House of Cards. Notable theater credits include numerous Broadway productions and the London production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour (2011).

Requiem for a Dream: Darren Aronofsky’s uncompromising fable of four New Yorkers’ drug-addled pursuit of the American Dream is brought to life by outstanding performances, including Ellen Burstyn’s Academy Award-nominated portrayal of a lonely widow mesmerized by her flickering television.

Peter J. Owens (1936-1991) was an actor, a film producer, a philanthropist and an important supporter of the Film Society. The organization is grateful to Scott Owens and the entire Owens family for continuing his legacy by endowing this award, which honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity.

Previous recipients of the Film Society’s Peter J. Owens Award include Richard Gere (2015), Jeremy Irons (2014), Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), Robin Williams (2007), Ed Harris (2006), Joan Allen (2005), Chris Cooper (2004), Dustin Hoffman (2003), Kevin Spacey (2002), Stockard Channing (2001), Winona Ryder (2000), Sean Penn (1999), Nicolas Cage (1998), Annette Bening (1997) and Harvey Keitel (1996). The Peter J. Owens Award is made possible through a grant from the Peter J. Owens Trust at the San Francisco Foundation; Scott Owens and Gary Shapiro, trustees.

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