Dame Judi Dench to Receive Santa Barbara Film Festival's Award for Excellence
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that Academy Award® winner Dame Judi Dench will be honored with the twelfth annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. The award will be presented at a black-tie gala dinner at Bacara Resort & Spa on Thursday, November 30, 2017. Perhaps best known for her iconic roles in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, PHILOMENA, NOTES ON A SCANDAL and SKYFALL, Dench will next be seen as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears' VICTORIA & ABDUL, in theaters on September 22, 2017.
Victoria & Abdul tells the extraordinary true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a young clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend.
In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly Queen. The unprecedented and unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the Queen against court and family. Victoria & Abdul humorously explores questions of race, religion, power, and the farce of EMPIRE through the prism of a highly unusual and deeply moving friendship.
The screenplay of Victoria & Abdul is by Academy Award nominee Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), based on journalist Shrabani Basu's book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant, which brought to light the long-hidden history of Victoria and Abdul from their own diaries and journals.
Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, and John Travolta.
"I am especially delighted to learn that Dame Judi Dench will accept the award that bears my name. She is a consummate artist of stage and screen who is a particular favorite of mine," says Kirk Douglas, original award recipient. "I wish I could have had the joy of working with her, but I am happy for the pleasure of seeing my name coupled with hers in support of the Santa Barbara Film Festival."
Dench has appeared on Broadway in INTO THE WOODS, AMY'S VIEW, KING HENRY V and TWELFTH NIGHT.
The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from Wednesday, January 31st through Saturday, February 10th.
About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 30 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States - attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.
SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike's Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. In June of 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After an extensive renovation, the theatre reopened in September of 2017 with state of the art Dolby audio and projection along with many other features. The theatre is SBIFF's new year round home to expand their mission of educational outreach.