Mel Gibson to Receive Director of the Year Award at L.A. Italia Fest

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Mel Gibson

The Oscar-nominated director will accept his prize at the festival’s opening ceremonies.

Mel Gibson will be honored with the director of the year award for Hacksaw Ridge at the upcoming L.A. Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest. He will accept the award at the festival’s opening ceremonies on Feb. 19.

Gibson is up for the Academy Award for best director once again more than 20 years after taking home two Oscars for Braveheart (best director and best film). Hacksaw Ridge tells the incredible true story of Desmond T. Doss, who saved the lives of 75 men during in the Okinawa battle during WWII as a pacifist. The film is up for six Academy Awards in total, including best actor and best picture.

“It took over 15 years to bring Hacksaw to the screen,” said producer Bill Mechanic. “Although I always thought Mel was the perfect director, he passed twice over that period, but luckily reconsidered and made a great film.” Mechanic produced the film along with David Permut, Terry Benedict, Bruce Davey, Paul Currie, Brian Oliver, William D. Johnson and Tyler Thompson.

Hacksaw Ridge has already taken home a number of awards in the past year, including the Capri, Hollywood best director and producer awards as well as director of the year at the Hollywood Film Awards. 

“Mel Gibson delivered an exciting, well-cast and beautifully executed motion picture that has struck a chord with audiences and critics through the world. And thus, our board unanimously voted to honor him with this much-deserved award,” said festival founder Pascal Vicedomini and honorary chair Mark Canton.

The 12th edition of the L.A. Italia Fest takes place Feb. 19-25 at the Chinese Six Theatre at Hollywood and Highland. Festival retrospectives this year are dedicated to Marcello Mastroianni and Dean Martin. As previously announced, Maria Bello will receive the festival’s Excellence Award.