DIFF to honour cinema legend Sean Penn with 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award

Tue Nov 23,2010

The Dubai International Film Festival today named American film icon and international social and political activist Sean Penn as its Western honouree for 2010. Penn, whose career spans nearly three decades, more than 45 films and notable successes as producer, director, actor and screenwriter, will accept the DIFF Lifetime Achievement Award at the Festival’s opening ceremony on December 12, 2010.

Announcing the award at the curtain-raiser press conference for DIFF 2010, Festival Chairman Abdulhamid Juma described Penn as an exemplary role model for the region’s youth and its film talent.

“Sean Penn is without a doubt one of the finest talents of our generation, an outstanding and versatile actor, gifted director and accomplished producer, and it is our privilege to add the DIFF Lifetime Achievement Award to his extensive list of accolades,” Juma said. “His tireless work on behalf of the people of the world from Haiti to the United States to Iraq and Iran, and his use of the celebrity spotlight to assist humanity, is an example to us all. We look forward to welcoming this culture-bridging icon to Dubai.”

Two-time Academy Award winner and five-time nominee Penn is perhaps best known for his searing performances in Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, I Am Sam, Mystic River, Milk and older genre classics Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Carlito’s Way. His performances have also been singled out by the Cannes and Berlin film festivals and critics associations around the world, as has his directing work on films including Into the Wild, The Crossing Guard and The Pledge.

Penn’s humanitarian work - including his reportage from Iran and Iraq in recent years, and tireless campaigning on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the earthquake-ravaged Haiti – has also won numerous admirers around the world. In January 2010, Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization which focuses on medical aid, protection, and re-location. His organisation is currently leading the largest camp for internally displaced persons in Port-au-Prince and established the first emergency re-location in the country.

During his visit to the seventh Dubai International Film Festival, Penn will also participate in a public ‘In Conversation With Sean Penn’ question-and-answer session at the Madinat Jumeirah, Juma added. Into the Wild and Sweet and Lowdown will screen at DIFF as part of the tribute to Penn.

Penn joins leading African director Souleymane Cisse and Egyptian-Lebanese icon Sabah as the Lifetime Achievement recipients for 2010. In previous years, DIFF has presented its Lifetime Achievement Awards to distinguished Arab, Asian and Western film personalities including Egyptian director Daoud Abdul Sayed, India’s Amitabh Bachchan and American director Oliver Stone.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Accreditation for DIFF 2010 is now open at, and the box office opens on November 24, 2010.

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