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The award is given to filmmakers who have “contributed in a fundamental way to the development of contemporary world cinema.”
One of the most diverse talents of his generation, Hawke had his breakthrough as an actor on Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, playing the shy student Todd who is the first to leap onto his desk to scream “Oh Captain! My Captain!” in the film’s climactic scene. He established himself as a leading man with performance in films like the Jack London adaptation White Fang (1991) and cult slacker dramedy Reality Bites (1994). Arguably his most important cinematic contribution has come through his collaboration with director Richard Linklater and co-star Julie Delpy in the Before Sunrise series of romantic dramas. The three features — Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013) follow the same couple, Jesse and Céline (Hawke and Delpy) through the ups and downs of their relationship of nearly two decades.
Hawke also starred in Linklater’s Oscar-winning drama Boyhood (2014), another project that was shot over nearly a decade, and has been a go-to talent for LInklater, with roles in the director’s Fast Food Nation (2006), Waking Life (2001), The Newton Boys (1998) and Tape (2001).
Behind the camera, Hawke made his directorial debut in 2001 with Chelsea Walls, a story set over a single day at the Chelsea Hotel, starring Uma Thurman, Kris Kristofferson, Rosario Dawson, Natasha Richardson and Steve Zahn. His directing credits include 2006’s The Hottest State, the 2014 documentary Seymour: An Introduction, about legendary pianist and piano teacher Seymour Bernstein, and 2018’s Blaze.
An accomplished novelist, Hawke’s fiction includes the bestsellers The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the children’s book Rules for a Knight, and the graphic novel Indeh. A Bright Ray of Darkness, published by Knopf in February 2021, is his first novel in twenty years. It explores the story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes. On July 20, 2021, Hawke and New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Greg Ruth published their graphic novel collaboration Meadowlark: A Coming of Age Crime Story.
Hawke made his television debut last year in Showtime’s limited series The Good Lord Bird based on the National Book Award-winning novel by bestselling author James McBride. Hawke executive produced and co-wrote the series, in which he starred as 19th-century abolitionist John Brown, a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He’s co-starring, alongside Oscar Issac and May Calamawy in the upcoming Marvel TV series Moon Knight.
The Austin, Texas native has received four Oscar nominations — twice as a best supporting actor (for Training Day (2001) and Boyhood (2014)— and twice for writing in the adapted screenplay category, sharing the nominations with co-writers Linklater and Delpy for the scripts to Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2014).
“We are thrilled to welcome to Karlovy Vary an artist we’ve been admiring for a long time,” said Karlovy Vary’s artistic director Karel Och and executive director Krystof Mucha. “In 2018, KVIFF paid tribute to the Austin Film Society and it is exciting to extend our appreciation of this renowned organization’s work by honoring an actor and director who is so closely connected to the Texas independent film scene.”
Hawke will attend this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which runs Aug. 20-28, and will introduce a screening of Paul Schrader’s 2017 thriller First Reformed, in which he stars a parish pastor in a crisis of faith.
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