The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Martin Scorsese with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award for The Irishman at its annual Film Awards Gala. The event, presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart, is scheduled for Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs January 2-13, 2020. 

“Martin Scorsese has directed another masterpiece about the world of organized crime with his latest film The Irishman, which brings to life the epic story of hitman Frank Sheeran.  The film is one of Scorsese’s finest and features outstanding performances from its stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “We are delighted to recognize Martin Scorsese with this year’s Sonny Bono Visionary Award for this extraordinary directorial achievement.”

The award is named after the festival’s founder and former Palm Springs Mayor, accorded to a filmmaker that breaks boundaries in the art of cinema.  Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Director Alfonso Cuarón, along with filmmakers Danny Boyle, Michel Hazanavicius, Tom Hooper, Tom McCarthy, Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino. Scorsese joins this year’s previously announced honorees Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger. 

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.  Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, the drama is directed by Scorsese for Netflix from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian. 

Martin Scorsese has directed the critically acclaimed, award-winning films including Mean StreetsTaxi DriverRaging BullThe Last Temptation of ChristGoodfellasGangs of New YorkThe AviatorSilenceThe Departed, which won an Academy Award® for Best Director and Best Picture, Shutter Island, and Hugo for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Director.

His 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street received DGA, BAFTA and Academy Award® nominations for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe and an Academy Award® nomination for Best Film. Scorsese has directed numerous documentaries including the Peabody Award winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and Elia Kazan: A Letter to EliaItalianamericanThe Last WaltzA Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American MoviesIl Mio Viaggio in ItaliaPublic SpeakingShine a Light, and “George Harrison: Living in the Material World”, for which Scorsese received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

In 2010, Scorsese executive produced the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”, winning an Emmy and DGA Award for directing the pilot episode. In 2014, he co-directed “The 50 Year Argument” with his long-time documentary editor, David Tedeschi. Scorsese directed the pilot episode of “Vinyl” for HBO in 2016; and in 2019, Netflix released “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese”; the director’s second film about Dylan, this one focused on his legendary 1975 tour. 

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Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography. Member of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.

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