The Advanced Imaging Society has announced that Academy Award®-winning director and producer Damien Chazelle will be honored with the annual Gene Kelly Visionary Award at the 2023 AIS Lumiere Awards.
Chazelle will join fellow previously announced honorees James Cameron and Jon Landau (Voices For the Earth Award) at the 13th annual awards luncheon event on Friday, February 10, 2023, at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The inaugural Gene Kelly Visionary Award went to Academy Award®-nominated Writer/Director Guillermo Del Toro in 2022.
“Damien Chazelle, like Gene Kelly, is an American original whose films burst with unbounded wit, intelligence and style, which he aptly demonstrates as he retells Hollywood’s earliest days as it moved from silent films to talkies in his latest work, Babylon,” says Jim Chabin, AIS President. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor him this year.”
Presenting the award to Chazelle will be Kelly’s widow and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly. Ms. Kelly said of Mr. Chazelle, “Damien’s passion about movies and music certainly links him with Gene [Kelly]. But so do his brightness, his pursuit of excellence, his fine vision, and his determination to forge new ground. Soon after I met Damien, it was clear to me that he did, indeed, wish to learn as much as he could, and would be a stellar candidate for this award. Frankly, I look forward to seeing anything Damien does! I am extremely proud to present him with the Gene Kelly Visionary Award at the 2023 Lumiere Awards.”
Chazelle’s most recent film, Babylon, is a visual and technical marvel. The film offers both a stunning vision of Los Angeles as an iconic American city on the make – and a decadent foray into the ravishing celebrations, the feverish spirit, and the dark complexities that defined early Hollywood and the advent of the film industry. The film’s personal stories sagely illuminate the tumultuous and destabilizing realities for many early Hollywood players as their industry transitioned from the world of silent film to “talkies.” In only a handful of years, the home of these creatives – Hollywood – grows from a small desert frontier town into one of the most prominent and thriving metropolitan destinations in the world. Babylon invites audiences into the wild adventures of a few Hollywood dreamers: early up-and-comers, and some aging movers and shakers, all navigating heady living and changing fortunes amid seismic shifts in society and the film industry. In its examination of the splendor, creative escapades, and the dazzling terror of the roaring 20s at the dawn of Hollywood, Babylon gives audiences a unique and fleeting glimpse of the powerful forces below the surface – the unbridled energy, the wanton explorations, and the intoxicating sense of excitement – which helped forge the raucous and hedonistic foundations of the Hollywood we all know and love.
The Lumiere Awards have been presented over the last decade to the industry’s most respected creative and technical leaders, celebrating our storytellers. In addition to awards for motion pictures, episodic and new media content, the society will bestow awards for best musical motion picture, best musical scene or performance, best immersive audio, and more.