Palm Springs, CA (November 21, 2013) – The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Steve McQueen with the Director of the Year Award for 12 Years a Slave at its annual Awards Gala. The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern and Matthew McConaughey. Presented by Cartier and hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 3-13, 2014.
“Director Steve McQueen captivates his audiences by challenging them with often unorthodox and unrelenting subject matter and technique,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “McQueen is a master of utilizing the senses to create the essence of his works. In his latest effort, 12 Years a Slave, audiences become integrally involved in the unbearably violent nightmare of a free black man, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, eventually to return home to freedom. To Steve McQueen, a soaring talent who ranks among the greats with each directorial effort, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present him the 2014 Director of the Year Award.”
Past Director of the Year honorees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell and Robert Zemeckis.
12 Years a Slave is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life. The Fox Searchlight Pictures film is directed and produced by Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard, Chris Chalk, Taran Killam and Bill Camp.
In 2008, McQueen’s critically acclaimed first feature Hunger won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, among countless other international prizes. He followed with 2011’s Shame, a provocative drama about addiction and secrecy in the modern world. The film received numerous accolades and awards with McQueen winning the CinemAvvenire Award and FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival as well as nominations from BAFTA, the British Independent Film Awards, the London Film Festival, Evening Standard British Film Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.