Videocitta Festival Honors Ennio Morricone With Lifetime Achievement Award

Ennio Morricone - GETTY - H 2016
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The Academy Award-winning composer was celebrated ahead of his 90th birthday in Rome.

Rome’s newest festival, Videocitta, on Tuesday honored composer Ennio Morricone with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his enormous body of musical work as well as his influence on younger generations of musicians. The award was given in collaboration with the Pio and Rossella Angeletti Foundation at Rome’s La Sapienza University.

The prolific composer turns 90 on Nov. 10, and Morricone’s hometown of Rome is coming out in full force with a series of events to celebrate the maestro.

Morricone has scored more than 100 classical music pieces and 500 works for film and television, including for the famous Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy, as well as iconic scores for films including The Battle of Algiers, The Untouchables, The Mission and Malena. In addition to receiving an honorary Oscar in 2007, he won his first competitive Academy Award for best score for The Hateful Eight in 2016 at age 87.

“Morricone is a force of music,” said ANICA president and Videocitta creator Francesco Rutelli at the award ceremony. “For millions of Italians, you have been and will remain the soundtrack of our lives.”

The ceremony was chock full of Oscar winners who came out to pay tribute to the maestro.

Production designer Dante Ferretti and set designer Francesca Lo Schiavo, who share three Oscars together for best art direction (Hugo, Sweeney Todd, The Aviator), spoke of Morricone’s huge influence throughout cinema.

"He made history," said Ferretti, adding that "Morricone had two Oscars, but he deserved many more."

"He made so many films fly high," said Lo Schiavo.

Two-time Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) also joined in on the celebration. "When I think of Italy, I think of Morricone,” he said. “Music has no boundaries. Thank you, maestro, for knocking them down."

Morricone was clearly moved by the personal tributes. “I never could have imagined the beautiful things that were said here," he said upon accepting the award. "I have only done my duty in life, trying to do good work. I thank you for this success and thanks to all those who helped me along the way.” 

The evening concluded with the Roma Sinfonietta orchestra performing the maestro’s works, conducted by his son, composer Andrea Morricone.

This year marks the first edition of Videocitta, a 10-day festival in Rome to promote the Italian capital as a global center for film talent and production. Videocitta is set to conclude Sunday with a drive-in cinema experience at the Colosseum.