Christopher Nolan, writer/director/producer of the acclaimed blockbuster Inception, will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s highest honor, Modern Master Award, presented by Announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, the event – which will take place on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at the historic Arlington Theatre – will provide a rare and highly anticipated look at one of the most in demand filmmakers today.

Christopher Nolan on Inception set

The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by SBIFF. Established in 1995, it was created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry. Nolan joins an illustrious group of past recipients including Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, and James Cameron.

“Every one of Nolan’s films has set a new standard for the film community, with Inception being the latest example,” comments Durling. “Nolan was the natural choice for this year’s SBIFF’s Modern Master Award.”

Standing out as one of the greatest minds in cinema, Nolan consistently pushes the boundaries of both filmmaking and storytelling. Demonstrating great versatility throughout his career, he has masterfully taken on the challenges of film as a director, writer, producer, editor, and cinematographer. His films have achieved immense success at the box office, drawing some of the largest profits in history, while at the same time they are recognized and renowned for being intellectually sophisticated and a challenge for all audiences alike.

From the beginning of his career, Nolan has demonstrated to be a master of multiple crafts in which he took on the roles of writer, producer, cinematographer, and director for his first film Following (1998). The noir thriller was recognized at a number of international film festivals, prior to being released theatrically. Nolan’s second film was the independent feature Memento (2000), which he directed from his own screenplay, based on a short story by his brother Jonathan Nolan. The film brought Nolan numerous honors, including Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He then directed the critically acclaimed psychological thriller Insomnia (2002) starring Oscar® winners Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. In 2005, Nolan co-wrote and directed Batman Begins. The smash hit re-imagined the Batmanfilm franchise, pleasing critics and fans alike. Nolan also directed, co-wrote and produced the mystery thriller The Prestige, which received Oscar® nominations for its outstanding art direction and cinematography.

Nolan directed, co-wrote, and produced the record-breaking 2008 film The Dark Knight, which grossed more than $1 billion at the global box office. Nolan was honored by his peers with nominations for Directors Guild of America (DGA), Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards. Among its many honors, The Dark Knight also received eight Oscar® nominations. Now two years later, Nolan rendered audiences awestruck once again with his most recent film Inception (2010), which he both wrote and directed. The original sci-fi actioner travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams, staring Leonardo DiCaprio. Next, Nolan is developing a third Batman feature.

The festivities will take place at the historic Arlington Theatre Sunday, January 30, 2011. Tickets for the Modern Master Award, presented by, are available now, discounted 20% until November 30 and can be purchased online or by calling 805-963-0023. Mini-Paks for the festival are currently discounted at 20%, while Festival Passes and Packages are currently discounted at 15%.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run January 27 – February 6, 2011. Now in its 26th year, SBIFF is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching local culture and raising consciousness of film as an art form and continues to be an essential stop on the road to the Oscars. SBIFF presents quality American Independent, Spanish and Latin American, European, World and Documentary cinema, as well as nature and surf films, all within the beautiful setting of downtown Santa Barbara, a perfect backdrop and premier tourist destination. SBIFF is also committed to educationthrough its 10-10-10 youth filmmakers project, Field Trip to the Movies, and educational seminars. With a projected audience of over 70,000 viewing more than 200 films over its eleven-day run, SBIFF attracts an eclectic and diverse consumer base, both locally and nationally, while maintaining strong ties with the entertainment industry in nearby Los Angeles. For more information, please visit the SBIFF website.


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