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The Golden Aruba Award to be offerered to filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci


The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) announced today that legendary, Academy Award® winning filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist, The Dreamers) will be bestowed with The Golden Aruba Award for outstanding achievement in film at the inaugural Film Festival, taking place June 4-11, 2010. The announcement was made by AIFF Artistic Director Claudio Masenza.

Serving as the Festival's most prestigious symbol of recognition, the Golden Aruba Award honors a filmmaker, actor or actress whose work has had a major impact and advanced the frontiers of cinematic artistry around the world. Bertolucci will be on hand for the special tribute and presentation in Aruba and will participate in the Festival's "In Conversations With" series alongside other notables such as Richard Gere and Guillermo Arriaga.


"Bernardo Bertolucci is simply my favorite director," said Claudio Masenza. "Both as a genial film maker and wonderful friend, he is a constant source of inspiration in my life. What greater honor could I hope for than being able to start my involvement with the Aruba International Film Festival recognizing his greatness?"


Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci is a global cinema icon. He first took up filmmaking at the age of fifteen when he made two short films, while at the same time gaining respect throughout Italy as a writer. His first book of poems, In Search of Mystery (In Cerca del Mistero), won the Premio Viareggio, one of the top literary awards in Italy. At the University of Rome, Bertolucci began his film career as an assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini. Following his work on Pasolini's Accattone, Bertolucci left the University of Rome and embarked on an independent study of film.


Bertolucci's first feature film, The Grim Reaper (La Commare Secca), was filmed on location in Rome in 1962. He was only 21 years old. Before the Revolution (Prima della Rivoluzione), his second feature film, won him broad recognition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1964. His next film, The Spider's Strategem (La Strategia del Ragno), revealed his amazing abilities, however it was not until the release of The Conformist (Il Conformista) in 1970 that Bertolucci's directorial brilliance became widespread globally and his screenplay received an Academy Award® nomination. The film deals with Fascist Italy under Mussolini and is both artistic and intellectual with a twisty, non-linear narrative that concludes on the evening of Mussolini's ousting from office. Two years later Bertolucci directed Last Tango in Paris (Ultimo Tango a Parigi), (cut erotic) starring Marlon Brando. Critics found it riveting and honest in its depiction of contemporary relationships. It became one of the most talked-about films of the year and earned Bertolucci an Academy Award® nomination for Best Director. The film made him an international and commercial sensation and cemented his reputation as an international master.

Bertolucci followed the success of Last Tango in Paris with 1900 - a sweeping epic that spanned over 40 years of Italian history and starred Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu. Bertolucci scored a major hit by returning to the grand scale with The Last Emperor, the epic story of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China. The film was shot on location in the People's Republic of China and immediately skyrocketed Bertolucci's international reputation. The Last Emperor won the Academy Award® for Best Picture, as well as eight others, with Bertolucci taking home the Oscar® for Best Director.


Bertolucci went on to direct several more acclaimed films such as The Sheltering Sky, based on the novel by Paul Bowles, about the collision between western and non-western cultures. His 1994 feature Little Buddha starred Keanu Reeves as an ancient prince on a quest for meaning. Stealing Beauty (1996) was am intimate film about a 19-year-old American, played by Liv Tyler, who undergoes her rite of passage into adulthood at the Tuscany, Italy home of her dead mother's friends. Bertolucci most recent film is The Dreamers with Eva Green, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel, a sensual story set on the background of 1968 Paris.


Taking place June 4-11, 2010, the breathtaking Caribbean island of Aruba provides the backdrop for the film industry's newest "must-attend" event, with an inviting atmosphere, suited like none other, to attract actors, directors, filmmakers, and film lovers for a one-of-a-kind festival experience.


Legendary leading man and activist Richard Gere will open the inaugural Aruba International Film Festival as its official host. In addition to opening the Festival, Gere will be bestowed with a special humanitarian award and participate in the Festival's "In Conversations With" series engaging the Festival audience.


AIFF stands to further global awareness for the Island of Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity and serve as a platform to promote the understanding and appreciation for the art of cinema and filmmaking. With participants enjoying a relaxed Aruban ambiance, AIFF promotes a more casual interaction between filmmakers and audience, making the film festival  friendly and accessible to all participants.


The annual AIFF will bring people from around the world to view a wide selection of films, join in discussions and attend special parties and events.


AIFF has a mission to encourage, educate and activate young Aruban filmmakers. Throughout the Festival, notable film professionals will be conducting master classes on all facets of filmmaking and the creative process.


Additional details involving the official AIFF line-up and celebrity attendance at the Festival will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information please visit the Aruba International Film Festival website at

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