The SIAE Award, bestowed on a filmmaker for outstanding lifetime achievement at Giornate degli Autori, will be going to Ferzan Özpetek, who follows in the footsteps of the 2019 winner, Marco Bellocchio. The awards ceremony will take place at 5pm on September 3rd in the Italian Pavilion - the Tropicana conference room (at the Hotel Excelsior) and will also be livestreamed on the platform www.italianpavilion.it.
The organizers have released the following statement:"The award bestowed on Ferzan Özpetek is a tribute to a modern icon of Italian cinema, a filmmaker whose intimate stories, often redolent of his country of birth, Turkey, have dissected life in Italy for over twenty years. His films epitomize the kind of cinema whose lifeblood is the society it examines while attempting to better it at the same time. This award, handed to Özpetek by the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers, is also meant to encourage filmmakers to continue their exploration of different art forms, from the adaptations of famous operas, once exclusively 'highbrow,' which have been reinvented by Özpetek in accessible, modern versions; to his collaborations with singers and songwriters whose songs, used in his films, have become part of the collective imagination. Last but not least, his career as an author, now on his third book, who can conjure up the magic of Istanbul and the family bonds, serendipitous encounters, and hopes and secrets of life in Rome, from when he first arrived to the present day. Assigning the award to Özpetek is potent recognition of his inclusive gaze, which has accustomed us to contemporary families, reacquainted us with lost traditions and overlooked corners of our cities, and escorted us into the new millennium, thanks to their artistry." Following the awards ceremony, SIAE Managing Director Gaetano Blandini, Giornate President Andrea Purgatori, and its General Delegate Giorgio Gosetti will join Ferzan Özpetek on the stage as the filmmaker meets with Venice audiences. In addition, this year SIAE will once again be awarding an Italian film on the Giornate lineup a special prize for Creative Talent. The winning film will be announced shortly.
Ferzan Özpetek (Istanbul, 1959) moved in Rome in 1976 to pursue a degree in film studies at the University "La Sapienza." His first film, The Turkish Bath: Hamam (1997), won critical and audience acclaim and was selected for the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes. Two years later, Harem Suare, which premiered at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section, was also well received. But it was his romantic comedy The Ignorant Fairies that swept the boards during the 2001 awards season, winning four Silver Ribbons and three Globi d'Oro. In 2003 his Facing Windows raked in five David di Donatello awards, three Silver Ribbons, four Ciak d'Oro, and three Globi d'Oro, as well as three awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and two at the Seattle Film Festival.
Özpetek's 2005 Sacred Heart was quite controversial, while his 2006 film Saturn in Opposition went on to win one David di Donatello, four Silver Ribbons, five Globi d'Oro and four Ciak d'Oro. In 2008, his film A Perfect Day, based on the novel Un giorno perfetto by Melania Mazzucco, competed at the Venice Film Festival. The same year, New York's MOMA devoted a retrospective to the filmmaker, whose 2010 film Loose Cannons would be a critical and audience hit at home and abroad, winning numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. It would be followed by A Magnificent Haunting and the 2014 Fasten Your Seatbelts, starring Kasia Smutniak, which would garner three Silver Ribbons, one Globo d'Oro and a Ciak d'Oro.
In 2011, the filmmaker directed his first opera, Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, which was a great success, as was the Traviata he directed the next year at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Özpetek wrote his first novel, Rosso Istanbul, in 2013; published by Mondadori, it was a love letter to his native city, and also to his mother. Four years later he turned it into a film, Red Istanbul, filmed entirely in the city itself. Mondadori brought out his second novel, Sei la mia vita, in 2015: a moving story featuring several behind-the-scenes glimpses of his own film sets. Last May, his third novel, Come un respiro, was published by Mondadori and topped the bestseller lists for weeks on end.
In late 2017, Özpetek's film Naples in Veils was a hit with audiences and critics alike. The filmmaker returned to Naples' Teatro San Carlo in April 2019 to direct Madame Butterfly. In May, his video installation Venetika, starring Kasia Smutniak, inaugurated the Venice Pavilion and received kudos from the national and international media. Released in late 2019, his film The Goddess of Fortune earned Jasmine Trinca a David di Donatello and a Silver Ribbon for Best Actress.
In January 2020, Özpetek directed the stage version of his film Loose Cannons. His numerous other accolades include honorary citizenship conferred by the cities of Lecce, Naples and Palermo, as well as honorary degrees from the universities of Perugia and Palermo. The filmmaker has been an active member of AIRC (the Italian Association for Cancer Research) for many years.