Sissy Spacek and William Friedkin to be feted by Seattle fest

Posted by · 5:17 pm · April 26th, 2012

The Seattle International Film Festival has announced that it will recognize Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek and director William Friedkin as 2012 tribute honorees. Sissy Spacek will receive the festival”s award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting on June 7 and William Friedkin will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 9.

“Sissy Spacek and William Friedkin have captivated audiences repeatedly throughout their careers with critically acclaimed works that boast multigenerational appeal,” said SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence via press release.

Spacek has a particularly special place in my heart. Her first firm step onto the world stage was in “Badlands,” the debut film of one of my favorite director”s, Terrence Malick. But it was her Academy Award-winning turn as country singer Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner”s Daughter” that really left an indelible mark.

Though I was raised in New York City, I was born in Tennessee to a very Southern mother. As such, I grew up listening to the rough tones of Johnny Cash, the unearthly ballads of Patsy Cline, the salty sweet rhythms of “The Band” and watching (repeatedly) the film based on the deep country girl turned megastar “Coal Miner”s Daughter.”

And the strange truth of it is I never got tired of viewing the film. Witnessing the Texas-born actress transform herself into a painfully naïve young girl and then again into a Nashville icon was always a joy, a secret pleasure that I outwardly grumbled about, lest I confess (in my grumpy adolescence) that this little bit of family time was actually a treasure.

No matter the film or the character there has always been something inherently likable about Sissy Spacek. Whether she is telekinetically dolling out poetic justice in “Carrie” or losing a grip on herself and her marriage in “In the Bedroom,” I find that I am inevitably, at least in some measure, on her side.

Meanwhile, William Friedkin, the craftsman responsible for “The French Connection,” (for which he received a Best Director Oscar) and “The Exorcist” will screen his latest collaboration with playwright Tracy Letts, “Killer Joe,” at SIFF in addition to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The festival, which runs May 17-June 10, will announce its official selections tomorrow.

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