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San Francisco Film Festival awards banquet brings big stars to the Bay Area – NBC Bay Area

It was a star-studded night in the Bay Area Monday where actors Greta Gerwig, Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Cage were honored in person at the San Francisco Film Festival awards banquet.

It took place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where Northern California’s own Gerwig, who wrote the screenplay for the “Barbie” movie, received the SFFILM Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction.

She’s the first female director of a billion-dollar box office movie.

“It’s so meaningful that the audience received it in the spirit that it was meant, which was that it was so joyful to make,” said Gerwig.

Canadian actor and director Ryan Gosling, who starred in this summer’s Blockbuster, presented the award.

“I’m so excited to be here, because I’m so glad that they’re honoring Greta,” he said. “I think she deserves all the awards.”

Prolific big screen actor Nicolas Cage, who has starred in more than 100 films, was also on the red carpet where he won a lifetime achievement for acting.

He’s back in the city where he once lived and where he spent time as a child.

“Some of my best memories in my life are in this city,” he said. “My childhood with my cousins, just a wonderful time here.”

Cage also had some words of advice for any young performers who might believe becoming a professional actor is an impossible goal.

“Don’t think it’s an unattainable dream. Give yourself time and develop it,” he said. “Wherever you’re deploying your skills as an actor – whether it’s on stage or anywhere – just keep doing it absolutely.”

He said the San Francisco festival, the oldest of its kind in the nation, is a critical fundraiser for keeping those dreams alive.  

Organizers couldn’t agree more and they say the 2023 festival was a huge success.

“For us, what we saw at the festival was and also our doc story series that we do in November, people showed up and they also came multiple times – so they would come and see films days after days – which is exactly what you want to happen at a festival,” said SFFILM Executive Director, Anne Lai.

“We still need people to show up. Films need spectators, and we need audiences,” said Jessie Fairbanks, SFFILM director of programming.

Organizers say they averaged about 85% capacity at about 100 events and they’re hoping for even larger crowds at the 2024 SF International Film Festival this coming spring.



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