WATERVILLE — Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Robert Benton will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award next month at the 19th annual Maine International Film Festival.

Benton, whose films include “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Nobody’s Fool,” is scheduled to accept the award July 10 at the Waterville Opera House.

The festival, which runs from July 8 to 17 at both the Opera House and Railroad Square Cinema, is a project of the Maine Film Center and brings nearly 100 international and independent films to Waterville, including those made in Maine and throughout New England.

The film festival’s Mid-Life Achievement Award winner will be announced Thursday, organizers said Wednesday.

“It’s an immense pleasure and honor to welcome Benton to MIFF to accept a richly-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award and to share his films with us,” festival programming director Ken Eisen said in a news release. Eisen also is a festival founder.

The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mid-Life Achievement Award have been given to several actors, directors and writers over many years.


Benton joins award recipients including last year’s Mid-Life winner, actor Michael Murphy, as well as Sissy Spacek, Glenn Close, Ed Harris, John Turturro, Karen Black, Jonathan Demme, Malcolm McDowell, Keith Carradine, Bud Cort, Peter Fonda, Terrence Malick, Jos Stelling, Walter Hill, Thelma Schoonmaker, Lili Taylor and Arthur Penn.

Benton has worked closely with Maine author Richard Russo, a former Colby College professor and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “Empire Falls,” which Russo dedicated to Benton.

The 2005 HBO movie of the same name, based on the book and starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris and Helen Hunt, was filmed mostly in Waterville and Skowhegan. Russo also wrote the book “Nobody’s Fool,” and Benton was nominated an Academy Award for best writing for his screenplay based on that book. He and Russo co-wrote “Twilight,” a 1998 film starring Newman, Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman.

Russo, whose “Nobody’s Fool” sequel, “Everybody’s Fool,” was released recently, will be on hand July 10 at the Opera House to help present Benton’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be given at the showing of “Nobody’s Fool,” at 6:30 p.m., according to organizers.

Thousands of movie enthusiasts attend the film festival, which draws filmmakers, producers, writers and actors from all over the world to Waterville over the 10 days. Moviemakers help introduce films, take part in question-and-answer sessions after screenings, attend receptions open to the public and interact with patrons.

The schedule of films to be shown and ticket information is available at www.miff.org.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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