San Francisco, CA — The San Francisco Film Society announced today that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will be the recipient of the Irving M. Levin Directing Award at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival
(April 23 – May 7), honoring the Mexican director’s expansive body of work and celebrating his unique contributions to the art of cinema. The tribute will acknowledge del Toro’s exceptional versatility in film. His mastery of building fantastic yet familiar worlds, populating them with disorienting and heroic monsters, brings audiences deep inside the living, oozing heart of his rich world of ideas and images. The award will be presented to del Toro at Film Society Awards Night, Monday April 27 at The Armory (1799 Mission St.).
Del Toro will also be honored at An Evening with Guillermo del Toro at the Castro Theatre, Saturday April 25, 8:00 pm. An onstage interview, accompanied by a selection of clips from his notable directing career and a sneak peek at his upcoming projects, will be followed by a screening of The Devil’s Backbone (2001).
“Guillermo del Toro’s remarkable ability to shift between intimate political drama and blockbuster action is shared with only a very few select filmmakers at the top of the field,” said Noah Cowan, Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society. “This award is a tribute to his boundless imagination and to his deep understanding of cinema history. Del Toro is both a great teacher and a boisterous communicator of why movies matter; we are going to have a very fun night with him here indeed.”
The Devil’s Backbone: Del Toro serves up a dollop of political allegory along with goosebump-raising chills in this enthralling story set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Ten-year old Carlos (Fernando Tielve), the son of a fallen war hero, is left at a remote orphanage where he runs up against creepy caretaker Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega) who is convinced there is gold on the premises. With ghostly presences, an unexploded bomb in the courtyard and the specter of Franco’s troops in the background, the stage is set for a creepily atmospheric masterwork of psychological horror.
Del Toro burst onto the international scene with Cronos (1993), winner of nine Ariel Awards from the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences and the Cannes’ International Critics Week prize. The Devil’s Backbone solidified his reputation as a masterful storyteller, while Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) opened to worldwide acclaim, winning three Oscars and garnering Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film. Del Toro continued to develop his unique directorial style with fan favorites Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004) and Pacific Rim (2013), which was one of the highest grossing live action films that year, topping $400 million at the box office worldwide. The Strain, his 2009 vampire novel co-authored with Chuck Hogan, was recently adapted for television and developed into an FX series, and audiences eagerly await his upcoming gothic thriller Crimson Peak, set to release in October 2015.
Del Toro is notable for multi-faceted projects and collaborations with the cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, actors Ron Perlman and Doug Jones, and for his influential friendships with fellow Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Beyond his contributions to directing, del Toro works as an activist, author and film historian, and has screenwriting and production credits on over thirty films. From the fairytale friendships of Pan’s Labyrinth to the haunting coastlines of Pacific Rim, he is responsible for numerous stories, characters and landscapes sparking the imagination of fresh and seasoned audiences alike.
The Film Society and its year-round exhibition, education and filmmaker services will benefit from the Film Society Awards Night fundraiser honoring del Toro. The star-studded event will also honor Richard Gere, the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting, and the soon-to-be-announced recipients of the Kanbar Award for excellence in storytelling and George Gund III Award for outstanding contributions to the craft of cinema. Christine Aylward, Heidi Castelein and Victoria Raiser are co-chairs of this year’s gala, which is sponsored by NET-A-PORTER.COM.
The Irving M. Levin Directing Award (previously the Founder’s Directing Award) is presented each year to a master of world cinema and is given in memory of Irving M. Levin, visionary founder of the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1957. The award is made possible by Irving’s son and current SFFS board member Fred M. Levin and Fred’s wife Nancy Livingston. It was first bestowed in 1986 on iconic filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and for many years carried his name.
The award has brought many of the world’s most visionary directors to the San Francisco International Film Festival over the years. Previous recipients are 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.
to An Evening with Guillermo del Toro
are $25 for SFFS members, $30 for the general public. Tickets for this special event are on sale Thursday, March 19 for SFFS members, Saturday, March 21 for the general public, online at sffs.org
For general information visit festival.sffs.org.