Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Excitement and anticipation abound Thursday evening as Warren Beatty, Annette Benning, Don Cheadle, and Lily Collins, arrived at the red carpet outside of Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA for the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The event kicked off with a pre-reception and red carpet held in the courtyard, where guests mingled and sipped wine and Hennessy. Carol Burnett made also paid a visit to help celebrate Warren’s remarkable career. Lily’s stunning Reem Acra gown dazzled the crowd as she got out of the car to greet fans.
Once guests were seated inside Bacara’s Ballroom, Lynda Weinman, SBIFF Board President, took the stage to welcome guests and sponsors and play a montage of Warren’s work.
After dinner was served, Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF, took the stage to discuss the history of the Kirk Douglas award. He then introduced Frank Larrazaleta, Prestige Brand Ambassador for Hennessy (one of the festival’s main sponsors), who led a toast to Warren and his illustrious career. Executive Director, Roger Durling and Lily Collins separately took the audience on a trip down memory lane with a series of clips celebrating Warren, which included moments from beloved classics such as BONNIE & CLYDE and HEAVEN CAN WAIT, and his latest film, RULES DON’T APPLY. Roger remarked on Warren’s insatiable passion and diverse body of work, and Lily described Warren’s powerful storytelling abilities and remarkable memory.
Lily also shared several entries from her journal before and after filming RULES DON’T APPLY, including that after texting Warren “Happy Father’s Day”, he responded by telling that she needed to be in bed by 9:30pm.
Durling then took the stage to introduce Kirk Douglas’s congratulations video to Warren. In the video, Douglas highlighted his admiration and respect for Warren, and asked him jokingly why Warren never asked Kirk to star in one of his films.
Don Cheadle, the final presenter of the evening, who spoke about Warren’s ability to make everyone around him smile, and Warren’s distinction of having been nominated twice by the Academy for producing, directing, writing, and starring in the same film.
He then introduced Warren Beatty to the audience to the stage to a standing ovation. Warren thanked the festival, along with its many year round charitable programs, Kirk Douglas, and everyone in attendance for an unforgettable evening. Warren also spoke about the incredible inspiration Kirk has had on him as a performer, and how his marriage to Annette over the last 25 years has made him the happiest he has been in his life. He also joked about perhaps working on a sequel with Lily, Don and Kirk.