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Actor Chris Cooper to be honored at SFIFF


Actor to be Saluted for Brilliance, Independence and Integrity

The San Francisco Film Society announced today that Chris Cooper will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award to be presented at the 47th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 15–29). The Owens Award, named after local cultural benefactor and longtime Festival board member Peter J. Owens, honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. The Award will be presented to Cooper on Thursday, April 22, 2004 at Film Society Awards Night at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The Film Society will be the beneficiary of the gala black-tie fundraiser honoring Cooper and Milos Forman, recipient of the Film Society Directing Award. Pat and Susie McBaine are the chairs of the Film Society Awards Night committee. Honorary chairs are Edward G. and Laleh Zelinsky. On April 21 at the Castro Theatre, there will be a tribute to Cooper featuring retrospective film clips and an onstage interview prior to a screening of John Sayles’s MATEWAN (1987).

Roxanne Messina Captor, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, announced Cooper’s upcoming appearance at the 47th Festival saying, “The Film Society is honored to present the Peter J. Owens Award for a brilliant and independent career to Chris Cooper, one of America’s finest actors. He has shown courage and care in his choice of roles, avoiding archetypal parts, preferring instead to play layered characters who reveal themselves over time.” Chris Cooper has won audiences around the world with his performances in widely diverse roles in films as varied as LONE STAR (1996), AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) and THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002). He will be seen in two upcoming films, John Sayles’ latest, SILVER CITY, and MILLER.

Chris Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and later attended the University of Missouri School of Drama. To further his training, he studied at the world famous Stella Adler Academy. He got his start in John Sayles’s labor drama MATEWAN, and built his career in film and television with parts like July Johnson in LONESOME DOVE (1989), Sheriff Sam Deeds in LONE STAR, and orchid aficionado John Laroche in ADAPTATION (2002). For the latter, he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe. With his most recent movie, SEABISCUIT (2003), he was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild award (his third such nomination). Preferring to play people who are, in his words, “concealed,” Cooper cracks open the carapace of his characters to disclose the essences they have within.

Previous recipients of the Peter J. Owens Award have been Dustin Hoffman (2003), Kevin Spacey (2002), Stockard Channing (2001), Winona Ryder (2000), Sean Penn (1999), Nicolas Cage (1998), Annette Bening (1997) and Harvey Keitel (1996). The Peter J. Owens Award is made possible through a grant from the Peter J. Owens Trust at the San Francisco Foundation.

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