LA Greek Film Festival to Honor Alexander Payne

Greek-American writer/director Alexander Payne will be honored at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Photo: (LAGFF)

LOS ANGELES – Greek-American Academy Award winning writer/director Alexander Payne will be the 2017 Orpheus Award honoree at the 11th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF). The award will be presented as part of the Orpheus Awards ceremony following the closing night film on Sunday, June 11 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The festival, which runs June 7-11, marks its 11th year as one of the premiere cultural film festivals in Los Angeles.

“Alexander Payne was selected by the committee to receive this year’s honor because of his worldwide contributions to movies and his dedication to the preservation of its history,” stated Festival Director Aris Katopodis. “We are delighted to be among those who recognize his brilliance as a filmmaker and his dedication not only to the craft but the people that work with him. His ability to entertain and intrigue audiences worldwide is surpassed by none.”

Payne, the grandson of Greek immigrants and a native of Omaha, Nebraska, received his MFA in filmmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles. Soon after graduating, he made his first feature film, Citizen Ruth (1996). Payne then examined high school politics in his comedy Election starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon (1999).

Three years later, About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates, earned Oscar nominations for both performances. Critically acclaimed films continued to follow, including Sideways (2004) for which Payne won his first Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; The Descendants (2011) and Nebraska (2013). His latest production, the science fiction dramedy Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Christoph Waltz, and Hong Chau, is one of 2017’s most anticipated films.

In addition to writing, producing and directing, Payne serves on the board of The Film Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese in 1990 to protect and preserve motion picture history. He is also on the boards of the Telluride Film Festival and Film Streams, a cinematheque in Omaha.

Past LAGFF Orpheus Award honorees include such notables as Kary Antholis, Nick Cassavetes, Olympia Dukakis, Jim Gianopulos, Anthony Katagas, Phedon Papamichael, Gena Rowlands, J.K. Simmons, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and Penelope Spheeris.

More information and tickets are available online at http://lagff.org.

The 2017 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival is supported by numerous key sponsors and is co-presented by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and the Onassis Foundation. Visitgreece.gr is the official tourism website for Greece, run by the GNTO, with information on the main tourist destinations, activities, events, and much more. The Onassis Foundation (USA) is committed to the promotion of Greek culture. By cooperating with educational and cultural institutions in Greece and the Americas, it promotes cultural relations.

The Onassis Cultural Center NY, founded in 2000, explores Greek culture, from antiquity to today, through a diverse program of exhibitions, events, and online engagement. Programs—for novices and scholars—are presented free of charge. LAGFF Platinum Patron: Aegean Entertainment and the Metropoulos Family, Gold Patron: The G.P. Kolovos & Associates – With a history of success in the real estate world and philanthropy, the Kolovos Family have been with LAGFF since its inception, and have been instrumental in its growth; Medix: Launched in 2001, Medix was built on the principle of becoming a leading provider of workforce solutions for clients and candidates across the Healthcare, Scientific and Information Technology industries. Silver Patrons: Earth Friendly Products, Marcus & Millichap, Inc. Bronze Patrons: Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Cinemax, LMU/LA.