Stephen Frears to be Honored at Sarajevo Film Festival

Stephen Frears Getty H 2016
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

The British director, whose latest film 'Florence Foster Jenkins' will screen at this year's festival, will receive the "Heart of Sarajevo" award.

British director Stephen Frears will receive the "Heart of Sarajevo" award at next month's Sarajevo Film Festival, organizers announced Friday.

The honorary award, given to those who have made "extraordinary contributions to the art of film," recognizes what the festival, based in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, calls his "distinctive and provocative" work.

Frears, who studied law at Britain's Cambridge University before going on to work in the theater and, later, as an assistant director to Karel Reisz on Morgan and Lindsay Anderson on If, directed a raft of notable television plays in the 1970s before making his feature movie breakthrough with My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985. The low-budget feature, written by Hanif Kureishi and originally intended for TV, sold internationally and became a critical and commercial success.

The director had his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons in 1989, scripted by fellow Brit Christopher Hampton, and went on to earn an Oscar nomination in 1991 for The Grifters, produced by Martin Scorsese.

Frears, who was last in Sarajevo as a guest in 2002 when the festival devoted its tribute section to him, returned to British television in 2003 to direct political drama The Deal.

He also directed Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins in Mrs. Henderson Presents and Helen Mirren in The Queen, for which the actress won an Oscar.

Recent films include four-time Oscar nominee Philomena; Tamara Drewe, an ironic look at English country life; Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight; and The Program, about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Frears' latest film, Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, will screen at this year's festival in its open-air program.

The 22nd edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival is set to run Aug. 12-20.