Trophee des Arts honors Ivory


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NEW YORK -- James Ivory has several ideas he would like to bring to the screen next, the filmmmaker said here Tuesday night before being honored with the Trophee des Arts in a black tie dinner gala.

Uma Thurman lauded the director to much applause and a standing ovation at swanky Manhattan landmark Gotham Hall after rushing crosstown from the Gotham Awards.

The award pays tribute to artists who have promoted a better understanding between the French and American peoples.

The gala also featured a sneak preview of Ivory's upcoming "The City of Your Final Destination," his first film since the death of long-time partner Ismail Merchant.

"It's not as much fun and as efficient without Ismail, but I'm still going," Ivory told The Hollywood Reporter. "There are a lot of things I want to accomplish."

One project he is eyeing to do in Texas is based on a play by playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote called "The Widow Claire," the filmmaker said.

A second project that he has been mulling for a while is a film on Shakespeare's "Richard II."
Asked about the current Hollywood writers strike, Ivory said he is a member of the WGA, but not affected, "because I'm not working on anything right now."

Thurman lauded Ivory as "such a beautiful example of what a global artist can be." In her work with him, she appreciated his "human observation and sensitivity," among many other things.

"If I could honor Jim Ivory every day, I would," she said.

In accepting the honor, Ivory earned laughs when he said that his English films seem to be his most popular works with French people. He also joked that he would keep his remarks brief as it was getting late and people would likely soon start eyeing the floral arrangements on their tables.

"In over forty years as the head of Merchant Ivory Productions, Mr. Ivory has created an unparalleled collection of films that have captured the spirit of La Belle France," organizers said in explaining his selection for this year's award.

The annual awards gala raises funds for cultural and educational programs of the French Institute Alliance Francaise. This year's packed edition set a revenue record, organizers said.

Last year's honoree was Charlie Rose.