WATERVILLE — Screen actor Michael Murphy will be presented with the annual Mid-Life Achievement Award at this year’s Maine International Film Festival, organizers announced Friday.

Murphy has appeared in movies from directors such as Tim Burton, Oliver Stone and Woody Allen, and had a long association with director Robert Altman.

The announcement comes about a month before the city’s 10-day festival opens July 10.

The festival’s opening night will include the Maine premiere of “Tumbledown,” a romantic comedy starring Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis, by Portland filmmakers Desi Van Til and Sean Mewshaw. Although filmed in Massachusetts, “Tumbledown” is set in western Maine and has many references to Farmington, Van Til’s hometown.

The film is named for Tumbledown Mountain, a popular hiking spot near Weld.

The festival also will feature a World Filmmakers’ Forum, featuring four international filmmakers, including award-winning French director Claus Drexel, who will present their latest films and participate in panel discussions. The forum was funded with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


The festival will screen the U.S. premiere of “Fall,” Murphy’s most recent film, in which he plays the lead, a troubled Roman Catholic priest. Murphy was nominated for best actor at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards for his performance.

Festival organizers touted Murphy’s versatility in Friday’s announcement.

“When you look at Michael Murphy’s filmography, you have to be amazed,” said Ken Eisen, the festival’s programming director, in a news release.

“Always a disarming presence in films, even when playing, as he sometimes does, essentially scurrilous characters, Murphy has the ability to make us comfortably feel as though we know and like the guy,” Eisen added.

“We are thrilled to honor Michael Murphy with the 2015 Mid-Life Achievement Award,” Festival Director Shannon Haines said in the release. “Not only is he an incredible actor with over a hundred film and television credits to his name, but he is also a genuine, funny and warm guy with lots of experience and stories to share with our audience.”

Aside from roles in Burton’s “Batman Returns,” Stone’s “Salvador” and Allen’s “Manhattan,” Murphy has played parts in “The Arrangement,” directed by Elia Kazan; “Magnolia,” directed by P.T. Anderson; and “Silver City,” by director John Sayles, among other roles in film and television.


His long relationship with Altman, who died in 2006, included roles in “M.A.S.H.,” “Nashville,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “Kansas City.”

The festival will feature a retrospective of Murphy’s films, including “Manhattan”; “The Front,” in which he stars opposite Woody Allen as a television writer blacklisted for his political views; and “Away From Her,” in which he plays a romantic lead as an almost speechless stroke victim.

Murphy is expected to introduce and discuss his work at the award ceremony on Thursday, July 16, at the Waterville Opera House.

Last year, actress Glenn Close was given the Mid-Life Achievement Award. Previous winners include Ed Harris, John Turturro, Sissy Spacek and Thelma Schoonmaker, among others.

The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 18th year, will be held July 10-19 in Waterville. Almost 100 films will be screened, featuring American and international independent filmmakers and spotlighting innovators from Maine and the rest of New England.

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