Today, SFFILM announced their honorees for the annual 2023 SFFILM Awards Night: Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig presented by Academy Award-nominated actor Ryan Gosling, Academy Award, Emmy, and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams presented by actor Raúl Castillo, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Cord Jefferson presented by prolific stage and screen actor John Ortiz, and Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage. The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) on December 4.
The celebratory event honors exemplary achievement in film craft and is a fundraiser with proceeds from the event supporting the organization’s mission to discover, nurture, and showcase the next generation of film artists. The annual dinner and awards presentation event is well established in film industry awards season schedules and philanthropic social calendars. SFFILM Awards Night will take place on Monday, December 4, 2023 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
“SFFILM has been part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape for over six decades. It is an organization that has led the way in showcasing singular voices in film like our honorees Greta Gerwig, Roger Ross Williams, Cord Jefferson, and Nicolas Cage,” said SFFILM’s Executive Director, Anne Lai. “SFFILM Awards Night celebrates filmmakers who have honed their storytelling skills and built their careers with time and investment from organizations like ours and we are grateful to our guests whose generous support sustains us, and helps us grow.”
“Greta, Roger, Cord, and Nicolas all wear many creative hats, develop bold new ideas, and are distinguished in more than one field,” said SFFILM Director of Programming Jessie Fairbanks. “We selected these four individuals because each person brings a fearlessness to the craft of cinema, pushing the art form and offering incisive commentary on the world. We need their voices now more than ever.”
Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction: Greta Gerwig
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 Ryan Coogler (2022), Jane Campion (2021), Chloé Zhao (2020), Marielle Heller (2019), Steve MᶜQueen(2018), 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), among others.
Greta Gerwig is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker with distinctive humor, an authentic voice, and singular, personal cinematic vision. Her wholly original, critically acclaimed Barbie, penned with Noah Baumbach and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has become both a worldwide cultural phenomenon and a record-breaking box office success as well as one of the most unique filmgoing experiences in years. Gerwig’s prior film, Little Women, was nominated for six Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, and PGA and WGA honors. Her solo directorial debut film, Lady Bird, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including nominations for Gerwig for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Gerwig is also a prolific actor, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Frances Ha, which she co-wrote with Baumbach. Recently she starred in Baumbach’s White Noise. Her additional acting credits include Jackie, Maggie’s Plan, 20th Century Women, Lola Versus, Damsels in Distress and Mistress America.
The Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction will be presented to Greta Gerwig by actor Ryan Gosling.
Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman Award for Storytelling: Roger Ross Williams
The newly named Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman Award for Storytelling acknowledges the critical importance that storytelling plays in the creation of outstanding films and is presented annually to a filmmaker whose work exemplifies brilliance, ambition, independence, and integrity. Past recipients include Sarah Polley (2022), Maggie Gyllenhaal (2021), Aaron Sorkin (2020), Lulu Wang (2019), Boots Riley (2018), Emily V. Gordonand 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), among others.
Roger Ross Williams is an Oscar, Emmy, Webby, Peabody, and NAACP Image award award-winning director, producer, and writer–and the first African American director to win an Academy Award®, with his film Music By Prudence. Williams directed Life, Animated, which won him the Sundance directing award and was nominated for an Academy Award, and won three Emmys. Williams is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, The Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award, The NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and an honorary doctorate from Lafayette College.
His production company One Story Up produced the acclaimed food series High On The Hog, an adaptation of Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between The World and Me, the Ben Crump documentary Civil, the award-winning film Master of Light, and Stamped from the Beginning. Williams first scripted feature Cassandro for Amazon MGM Studios had its World premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
The Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman Award for Storytelling will be presented to Roger Ross Williams by actor Raúl Castillo.
George Gund III for Virtuosity: Cord Jefferson
The George Gund III Award is presented each year to one of world cinema’s outstanding visionaries, regardless of their craft. As a result of activist, arts advocate, and philanthropist Agnes Gund’s generous support, this honor calls attention to an artist who exemplifies excellence, integrity, and promise—all qualities exemplified by the award’s titular figure. The 2022 honoree was Stephanie Hsu, acknowledging her singular breakthrough performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Cord Jefferson is an Emmy award-winning writer who has worked on some of the most complex and popular series of the past decade. With a diverse list of projects under his belt, Jefferson has earned praise for being a multifaceted and versatile storyteller. Recent credits include the groundbreaking limited series Watchmen, for which he won an Emmy award for Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series alongside Damon Lindelof, for their episode This Extraordinary Being; HBO Max series Station Eleven; Netflix’s Master of None; and drama series tour-de-force Succession. Among the accolades that Jefferson has earned for his series work are two Writers Guild Awards and an NAACP Image Award for writing The Good Place’s Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spyepisode. Jefferson made his directorial debut in 2023 with American Fiction, starring Jeffrey Wright. Jefferson also wrote the screenplay, which he adapted from the novel Erasure by Percival Everett.
The George Gund III Award for Virtuosity will be presented to Cord Jefferson by actor John Ortiz.
Maria Manetti Shrem Lifetime Achievement Award for Acting: Nicolas Cage
The Maria Manetti Shrem Lifetime Achievement Award for Acting has been awarded since 1996 and honors a performer whose work in film exemplifies brilliance, independence, and integrity. Past recipients include Margot Robbie, Glenn Close, Adam Driver, Amy Adams, Kate Winslet, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Gere, Jeremy Irons, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Judy Davis, Terence Stamp, Robert Duvall, and Robin Williams, among others.
Nicolas Cage is an actor, director, and producer whose remarkable versatility has led to great success across all genres for over four decades. Cage can currently be seen in theaters in A24’s critically acclaimed Dream Scenario from director Kristoffer Borgli. Other recent work includes, the award-winning drama Pig, the crowd-pleasing comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and the ground-breaking horror thriller Mandy.
During his early career, Cage starred in a variety of classic films including Valley Girl, Birdy, Peggy Sue Got Married, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Vampire’s Kiss, and Wild at Heart before turning his attention to mainstream blockbusters such as The Rock, Face/Off, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, National Treasure 1 and 2, and Lord of War.
Cage received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in Leaving Las Vegas, and he earned his second Academy Award nomination for his performance in Adaptation. He also directed the film Sonny which was nominated for the Grand Special Prize at The Deauville Film Festival, and he has been prolific as a producer through his production banner Saturn Films.
Photos courtesy of SFFILM per rights holders. Nicolas Cage by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images.