Michael Cimino to Be Honored at Venice Film Festival

Michael Cimino Headshot - P 2012
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Michael Cimino Headshot - P 2012

The 73-year-old director will also oversee a screening of a restored version of "Heaven's Gate" which will return to Venice 30 years after it first screened there.

LOCARNO, Switzerland – Filmmaker Michael Cimino will receive what Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said was a “long overdue” recognition when he is given the Persol 2012 Award at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

The award will be presented in an afternoon ceremony on August 30, the festival’s first full day, followed by a screening of the new Criterion edition of Cimino’s 1980 romantic classic Heaven’s Gate, which stars Kris Kristofferson as a sheriff in a dramatic story set in 1890s Wyoming.

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Heaven’s Gate first screened at the Venice festival 30 years ago. This year’s screening of the film will be as part of the Venezia Classici section of the festival, which screens classic productions from the past.

Cimino, 73, has two Oscars to his credit, both for 1979’s The Deer Hunter -- for Best Picture and Best Director.

“It is a belated but long overdue acknowledgment of the greatness of a visionary filmmaker, one of the most intense and original voices in American filmmaking of the last forty years,” Barbera said in a statement.

Cimino has not made a full-length feature since 1996’s The Sunchaser, which screened in competition in Cannes but was panned by critics and then flopped at the box office.

The 69th edition of the storied Venice Film Festival runs August 29-Sept. 8.