2012 Special Guest and Artistic Achievement Award Honoree Announced

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor

For Immediate Release – For more press information, contact Anne Ashbey Pierotti, 541.488.3823

2012 Passes Now Available; Complete Schedule Available March 12

Ashland, Ore.—The Ashland Independent Film Festival announced today that award-winning film and theater director Julie Taymor has been selected to receive the festival’s 2012 Artistic Achievement Award. The award will be presented during the festival’s annual Awards Celebration at the Historic Ashland Armory, Sunday April 15.

Taymor is most widely recognized for her theatrical production of The Lion King, which opened on Broadway in 1997 and earned her the distinction of being the first woman to receive the Tony Award® for Best Direction of a Musical as well as a Tony Award® for her original costume designs for the production. Taymor is also the director, co-book writer and mask designer for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Broadway’s hit rock musical.

Most recently, Taymor directed the feature film The Tempest, a bold reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s epic play which recasts the vengeful sorcerer Prospero as Prospera (played by Helen Mirren), and in so doing transforms the essential struggle into one of intellect rather than might. Taymor’s previous credits include the award-wining Across the Universe, which features 35 Beatles songs and performances by Bono, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard and Salma Hayek. Both The Tempest and Across the Universe will screen during the April film festival, and Taymor will be present for audience Q&A.

“For me the joy of making a piece of art—whether it is a film, a play or an opera—is the experimentation in the process of the realization. It is thrilling to challenge yourself, your collaborators and the audience in how you tell the story… People will always want you to repeat yourself and give them what they already know or love or expect from your work. You have to give them what they don’t know they want. Walk a tightrope—it’s a thrill.” –Julie Taymor

On Friday evening, April 13, AIFF will present a special on-stage interview titled “Essential Transformation: In Conversation with Julie Taymor.” The interview will be conducted by Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch. Taymor will share behind-the-scenes footage illustrating her creative process and provide audiences with a rare opportunity to learn about her unique process of adapting existing works to new mediums –whether Shakespearean plays, The Beatles’ songs, or a Disney movie. “I was first transported by the magic of Julie Taymor’s artistry when I was a student almost thirty years ago, and she worked on our campus at the American Repertory Theater,” said Rauch. “It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to interview this highly influential artist.”

About the AIFF: The Ashland Independent Film Festival was founded in 2001 as the Southern Oregon Film Society, and continues to gain national attention as a successful regional festival. Over 90 independent documentaries, feature films and shorts will be presented at the 11th annual AIFF, April 12 -16, with events at the Varsity Theatre, Historic Ashland Armory and Ashland Springs Hotel. A complete schedule of festival films will be available at ashlandfilm.org by March 12. Tickets go on sale to AIFF members beginning March 20 and to the general public beginning March 25. Complete information is available online at ashlandfilm.org.

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