Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Parasite' Helmer Bong Joon Ho to Be Feted as Director of the Year (Exclusive)

The South Korean filmmaker is Oscar-nominated for producing, directing and writing the acclaimed dramedy.
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Bong Joon Ho accepts the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for 'Parasite' in May 2019

Bong Joon Ho, the South Korean filmmaker whose 2019 dramedy Parasite has brought him international acclaim and Oscar nominations for producing, directing and writing, will be feted by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Thursday with its Outstanding Director of the Year Award.

A career-encompassing tribute featuring clips and conversation, and moderated by yours truly, will take place at Santa Barbara's historic 2,000-seat Arlington Theatre at 8 p.m., following a daylong retrospective of four of director Bong's seven feature films: Memories of Murder (8 a.m. at Metro), The Host (11 a.m. at Metro), Mother (1:20 p.m. at Fiesta) and Parasite (4:30 p.m. at Lobero).

Bong is only the fourth solo recipient of the Outstanding Director of the Year Award in SBIFF's 35-year history.

"Director Bong and his film Parasite transcend every category and genre," said festival director Roger Durling in a statement. "Funny, poignant and thrilling, the film has been embraced around the world, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is ecstatic to continue to shine the light on one of the best filmmakers there is and his remarkable oeuvre."

Parasite was the first South Korean film to win the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or and was also awarded the best foreign language film Golden Globe Award. It has since been nominated for six Academy Awards: best picture, best director, best original screenplay, best international feature, best film editing and best production design. And, on Sunday night, it became the first non-English-language film ever awarded the best ensemble SAG Award by America's largest union of actors, SAG-AFTRA.

Previous SBIFF Director of the Year honorees include Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele, George Miller, Laura Poitras, Alfonso Cuaron, Adam McKay, Pawel Pawlikowski, Yorgos Lanthimos, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tom McCarthy, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Paolo Sorrentino, Damien Chazelle, Richard Linklater, Bennett Miller and Kathryn Bigelow.