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Tuesday Roundup: SBIFF unveils lineup, awards; Larry David wins WGA Award

January 19, 2010 | 12:50 pm


Now that the Palm Springs International Film Festival has come to a close, what's a starry-eyed film lover to do? Well, they can follow the gala list of celebs receiving tribute from the 25th Santa Barbara Film Festival (SBIFF).

"Young Victoria" star Emily Blunt is the latest A-lister to be honored at this year's edition, which runs from Feb. 4-14. Blunt will be awarded with the Chopin Virtuoso 2010 Award, which recognizes up-and-coming film talent; also getting a Chopin is Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), Saorise Ronan ("The Lovely Bones") and Michael Stulhbarg ("A Serious Man"). The fest is also honoring Sandra Bullock with the American Riviera Award (Notes on a Season's Pete Hammond will moderate), while new-minted Golden Globe winner James Cameron is this year's Lucky Brand Modern Master. 

Meanwhile, former Cameron spouse and Oscar competition Kathryn Bigelow gets both a day-long retrospective of her films and the Outstanding Director of the Year Award, while Colin Firth will be named Outstanding Performer of the Year (again, with Pete Hammond moderating). Pete's also holding down the chat duties for Julianne Moore's Montecito Award, while fest executive director Roger Durling will do the honors for the Cinema Vanguard Award, which will be presented to Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"), Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds"), himself fresh from a Golden Globe win. Are those enough stars for you?

More after the break.

The SBIFF has also announced its opening and closing films, as well as special programs. The Feb. 4 opener is "Flying Lessons" from first-timer Derek Magyar; the drama stars Maggie Grace ("Lost") as a L.A. resident who reluctantly returns to her home town and her estranged mother (Christine Lahti). Hal Holbrook, Cary Elwes and Joanna Cassidy round out the players; George Gallo's comedy "Middle Men," about an innocent's involvement in the early days of the Internet boom, will close the fest on Feb. 14, with Gallo and members of his cast, which includes Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, James Caan, Kelsey Grammer, Robert Forster and Kevin Pollack, in attendance. 

Other SBIFF highlights include the David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking, which goes to "The Cove," about a documentary team uncovering dolphin abuse in Japan, on Feb. 10; a day-long tribute to Jeff Bridges on Feb. 14, which includes screenings of his previous Oscar-nominated turns ("The Last Picture Show," "Starman") and a conversation with the Golden Globe recipient; and programming devoted to films from Quebec, Spain, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, as well as sidebars on nature documentaries, extreme sports and filmmakers from Santa Barbara. They've also selected a jury for their competition prizes, which include a $60,000 camera package for best independent film; the 2010 jurors include actors Joel David Moore ("Avatar"), Haaz Sleiman ("The Visitor," "Nurse Jackie"), Robert Carradine, Dennis Franz, Anthony Zerbe, and "USA Today" critic Claudia Puig. A full schedule of events and films is available on the festival's website.

78088274 Meanwhile, Larry David has plenty to grouse about now: the "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator is this year's winner of the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television from the Writers Guild of America (WGA). The award, named for the Academy Award winning writer of "Marty" and "Network," is the highest honor for television writers from the WGA; previous winners include Steven Bochco, David Chase and Stephen J. Cannell. David will receive the award at the 2010 WGA Awards' West Coast ceremony on Feb. 20. Expect plenty of kvetching.

And the 60th Berlin International Film Festival has selected its opening and closing features. The former is Chinese director and Golden Bear winner Wang Quan'an's "Apart Together," a bittersweet wartime romance about reunited lovers set against the civil war of 1949. The film, which is in competition, will have its world premiere at the festival on February 11. The Feb. 21 closer, presented out of competition, is "About Her Brother," which is the latest from prolific Japanese director Yoji Yamada (an Oscar nominee for 2003's "The Twilight Samurai"). The family drama centers around a pair of siblings --one, a grieving widow, the other, her hapless brother -- whose relationship is put to the test when he receives devastating news. A complete list of films and programming is available at the Berlinale's website.

-- Paul Gaita

Top photo: Emily Blunt. Credit: Getty Images.

Bottom photo: Larry David: Credit: Getty Images.

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