Amy Adams, Steve McQueen and Boots Riley will attend and accept honors at the 2018 SFFILM Awards Night (formerly Film Society Awards Night), its annual fundraising celebration honoring achievement in filmmaking craft. This year’s edition of the dinner and awards presentation event—leveraging its new position in the fall after a wildly successful move in 2017—takes place Monday, December 3 at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts Exhibition Center.
SFFILM Awards Night supports the organization’s various year-round initiatives, especially SFFILM Education, which will utilize funds raised to increase the number of Bay Area youth served by film screenings that promote media literacy and inspire meaningful social dialogue; gather student, family, and teacher feedback to build a national platform for sharing lesson plans for current films; and expand the organization’s family-oriented public programming.
The guests of honor at SFFILM Awards Night will be the recipients of the organization’s prestigious awards for film craft: Amy Adams (Vice, Annapurna Pictures) will receive the Peter J. Owens Award for Acting; Steve McQueen (Widows, 20th Century Fox) will receive the Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction; and emerging breakthrough talent Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You, Annapurna Pictures) will receive the Kanbar Award for Storytelling. Celebrity presenters and additional awards will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are thrilled that Awards Night’s position in December has once again inspired such exceptional talent to join us,” said SFFILM Executive Director Noah Cowan. “These artists were selected because their work embodies the values of the Bay Area—in particular their role in championing innovative cinema, making the industry more diverse and inclusive, and actively participating in the social dialogue that is so desperately needed today. We hope that, by championing these artists and these values, SFFILM can have a positive effect on the awards conversations that dominate media this time of year.”
One of San Francisco’s most highly anticipated film events and social gatherings, SFFILM Awards Night is taking place for the second time in December, further solidifying its new position in the city’s fall calendar after decades as part of April’s San Francisco International Film Festival and better leveraging the Bay Area’s increasing awards season relevance. Public screenings and onstage talks will accompany SFFILM Awards Night, with announcements to follow in the coming weeks.
Peter J. Owens Award for Acting: Amy Adams
The Peter J. Owens Award, named after the late local cultural benefactor and longtime SFFILM board member, honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. Past recipients include Kate Winslet (2017), Ellen Burstyn (2016), Richard Gere (2015), Jeremy Irons (2014), Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), and Robin Williams (2007).
Five-time Academy Award nominated and two-time Golden Globe winning actress Amy Adams has built an impressive body of work, challenging herself with each new role. Adams can most recently be seen in HBO’s high-profile drama series Sharp Objects, in which she starred and executive produced with Jean-Marc Vallée at the helm as director; and in Adam McKay’s upcoming film Vice, starring as Lynne Cheney alongside Christian Bale and Steve Carell. She recently wrapped production on Woman in the Window, alongside Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore. Adams’ additional film credits include Denis Villenueve’s Arrival, for which she was named Best Actress by the National Board of Review; Zack Snyder’s Justice League Part One and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals; Tim Burton’s Big Eyes and David O. Russell’s American Hustle, both of which earned her Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Spike Jonze’s Her; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master; Nora Ephron’s Julie and Julia; John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt; Kevin Lima’s Enchanted; and Phil Morrison’s Junebug, among many others.
Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction: Steve McQueen
The Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction is presented each year to one of the masters of world cinema and is given in memory the founder of the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1957. Past recipients include Kathryn Bigelow (2017), Mira Nair (2016), Guillermo del Toro (2015), Richard Linklater (2014) Philip Kaufman (2013), Kenneth Branagh (2012), Oliver Stone (2011), Walter Salles (2010), Francis Ford Coppola (2009), Mike Leigh (2008), Spike Lee (2007), and Werner Herzog (2006).
Steve McQueen is a British artist and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, and the recipient of an OBE (2002) and a CBE (2011) from Queen Elizabeth II. In 2013, McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, adapted from Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir of the same name, dominated awards season, winning the Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, PGA (joint winner), Independent Spirit, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the Black Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Picture. McQueen won the Independent Spirit, African-American Film Critics Association and Black Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Director and received Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and DGA nominations for directing. His second feature, Shame (2011), starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, received numerous awards and nominations. Shame ranks as one of the highest grossing NC-17-rated movies in US box office history. In 2008, McQueen’s critically-acclaimed first feature, Hunger, won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. McQueen received BAFTA’s Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer in addition to numerous other international awards and nominations. Hunger is one of the most awarded debut movies with 45 wins and 33 nominations. His latest film Widows, being released November 16, is a blistering, modern-day thriller about four women (Oscar® winner Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo) who take their fate into their own hands after being left in debt from their dead husbands’ criminal activities. McQueen resides in Amsterdam and London.
Kanbar Award for Storytelling: Boots Riley
The Kanbar Award acknowledges the critical importance that storytelling plays in the creation of outstanding films. The award is named in honor of Maurice Kanbar, a longtime member of the board of directors of SFFILM, a San Francisco film commissioner and a philanthropist with a particular interest in supporting independent filmmakers. Past recipients include Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (2017), Tom McCarthy (2016), Paul Schrader (2015), Stephen Gaghan (2014), Eric Roth (2013), David Webb Peoples (2012), Frank Pierson (2011), and James Schamus (2010).
Activist, filmmaker, and musician, former FilmHouse resident and SFFILM grantee Boots Riley studied film at San Francisco State University before rising to prominence as the front man of hip-hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. His debut feature film Sorry to Bother You premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Annapurna Pictures, and was released in July to resounding box office success and widespread critical acclaim. The New York Post says, “Boots Riley ranks as some kind of genius.” Jeff Chang said, “he is one of the most influential poets and thinkers of this generation.” Stereogum says, “Boots Riley is a national treasure.” While Slavoj Zizek says “The very existence of a person like Boots Riley is a miracle.” His book of lyrics and anecdotes, Tell Homeland Security- We Are The Bomb, is out on Haymarket Press.