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Barry Levinson

Screenwriter-producer-director Barry Levinson, who won an Academy Award for Rain Man, will accept the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at this year’s Karlovy Vary festival.

The Karlovy Vary festival continues its tradition of recognizing the most important personalities of world cinema, the likes of which include directors William Friedkin, Jerry Schatzberg, and Ken Loach, and screenwriter Paul Laverty. In his writing and directing capacity, Academy Award winner and five-time nominee Barry Levinson deftly combines personal stories with an often satirical look at society, and his movies have fundamentally influenced numerous young filmmakers.

Barry Levinson established himself as a writer of successful television shows. With his onetime wife, Valerie Curtin, he then wrote the movie script for Norman Jewison’s courtroom drama …and justice for all (1979), which brought them an Oscar nomination. He debuted as a director with the comedy-drama Diner (1982), receiving his second Oscar nomination for the script. Ivan Král, a Czech musician based in the US, co-wrote the film music.

Subsequent titles confirmed his reputation with critics and audiences: The Natural (1984) with Robert Redford, Tin Men (1987) with Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito, and Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) with Robin Williams.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the legendary picture Rain Man (1988), awarded four Oscars (e.g. Best Director for Barry Levinson) and numerous other honors, including the Golden Bear at the Berlinale and the David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film. Under Levinson’s guidance, Dustin Hoffman turned in one of his most memorable performances and Tom Cruise extended his star status while paired up with onscreen girlfriend Valeria Golino. His next movie, the drama Avalon (1991), earned Levinson another Oscar nomination, this time for Best Original Screenplay. The Warren Beatty vehicle Bugsy (1991), based on the life of the well-known gangster, brought Levinson another two Academy Award nominations – for best director and picture.

Recently turned 20, Levinson’s movie Wag the Dog is a behind-the-scenes political parody (once again) starring Dustin Hoffman in an Oscar-nominated role. The film earned Barry Levinson a Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at Berlinale in 1998.

Similar to his work with Hoffman, with whom he also shot the drama Sleepers (1996) and the sci-fi picture Sphere (1998), he teams up with other Hollywood stars for multiple productions, including Robert De Niro (Wag the Dog, What Just Happened, 2008) and Robin Williams (Toys, 1992; Man of the Year, 2006).
Levinson produces the majority of his movies and has backed a number of ambitious project by other directors, among others Mike Newell’s crime drama Donnie Brasco (1997) and Neil LaBute’s romantic drama Possession (2002).

Barry Levinson will present his latest directorial effort at KVIFF, the HBO-produced drama Paterno, and will introduce Rain Man and the timeless satire Wag the Dog.

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