The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is proud to present James Franco with the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award on Saturday, January 29, 2011. He will be honored for his compelling performance in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours at the 26th edition of the Fest which runs January 27-February 6, 2011, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

James Franco in 127 Hours

This fall will see the release of the highly anticipated 127 Hours, in which Franco stars in the true story of young adventurer, Aron Ralson. After embarking on a journey through the Moab Desert, Ralson finds himself trapped and alone after a boulder crushes his arm deep within a canyon. There he is forced to take any means necessary to escape with his life.

“A truly, an exceptional actor who embraces the character and lives the story to tell it,” comments Durling, “James Franco eases onto the screen, seducing the audience no matter if he is the hero, the villain or the victim.”

While the audience embraced him from the moment he burst on to the small screen in 1999’s Freaks and Geeks , it was his convincing performance and striking likeness to James Dean in the 2001 TNT made-for- TV movie bio-pic James Dean that gained respect from the public and his fellow actors.

In the summer of 2002, Franco proved to be a box-office draw when he starred as Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s best friend, in the smash hit Spider-Man which then launched this dedicated actor’s career to the next level. He reprised his role of Osborn in both sequels Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). Franco went on to star with Robert De Niro in City by the Sea and with Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah. In 2008 his vast range was unmistakable in two very different films: first in the comedy Pineapple Express with Seth Rogan as marijuana dealer Saul Silver, and second in the highly acclaimed film Milk as Scott Smith, the dedicated and loyal love interest for Sean Penn. Milk earned Franco numerous nominations and once again upped the volume in his career.

Venturing back into TV, Franco spent his summer having fun and reeking havoc on ABC’s daytime soap opera General Hospital and this past August he was back on the big screen in his sexy portrayal of David in Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts. 2011 will see Franco starring in two eagerly awaited films, Your Highness with Natalie Portman and the Planet of the Apes prequel Caesar: Rise of the Apes.

Franco will join an illustrious group of previous Outstanding Performance Award recipients, including Colin Firth (2010), Penelope Cruz (2009), Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005) and Charlize Theron (2004).

The festivities will take place at the historic Arlington Theatre on Saturday, January 29, 2011. Tickets for the Outstanding Performance of the Year are available now, discounted 20% until November 30 and can be purchased online or by calling 805-963-0023 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              805-963-0023      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Mini-Paks for the festival are currently discounted at 20%, while Festival Passes and Packages are currently discounted at 15% and on sale exclusively online and 805-963-0023.

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 education through 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 SBIFF online.


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