Penélope Cruz to Receive Tribute at IFP's 18th Annual Gotham Awards™

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Honor for Cruz Signals Official Kick-Off of Film Awards Season.

Penelope's body of work embodies what is exciting and vibrant about filmmaking today, in particular independent filmmaking

Signaling the official kick-off to the film awards season, the IFP announced today that Penélope Cruz will be presented with a Gotham Award Tribute at the 18th Annual Gotham Awards™ on Tuesday, December 2nd in New York.

Presented by IFP, the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, The Gotham Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film and the first major honors of the film awards season. The awards provide critical early recognition to worthy independent films, such as past winners JUNO (2007), HALF NELSON (2006), JUNEBUG (2005), all of which went on to numerous awards and Oscar™ nominations for their stars -- Ellen Page, Ryan Gosling, and Amy Adams, respectively.

Recognizing her contributions as one of the most versatile international actors of the day, Cruz's long list of accomplished roles will be celebrated as part of this year's ceremony. Cruz is presently enjoying critical acclaim for two independent releases. "Elegy," released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and based on THE DYING ANIMAL by Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Roth, was directed by Spanish director Isabel Coixet and co-stars Academy Award® winner Sir Ben Kingsley, Academy Award® nominees' Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson and Golden Globe nominees' Peter Sarsgaard and Deborah Harry. The Lakeshore produced film in which Cruz plays the lead role, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and opened on August 8th earning the highest per screen average of any film in the country. Deemed by top critics as Cruz's best English language performance to date, TIME MAGAZINE'S Richard Corliss says "cue the Oscar buzz." "Elegy" will rollout to the top 25 markets on August 22nd.Cruz's second film currently in release is Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to unanimously positive reviews. The film, which was shot in Barcelona, also stars Academy Award® winning actor Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Patricia Clarkson. Cruz's role has already generated a significant amount of praise and has been lauded by critics as an Oscar-worthy performance. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a Weinstein Company presentation being theatrically distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).

"Penelope's body of work embodies what is exciting and vibrant about filmmaking today, in particular independent filmmaking" said Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP. "Her performances working with internationally acclaimed directors and her choice of roles are dynamic, vivacious and varied. IFP is especially pleased to salute her still very young career this year as she delivers knockout performances in two extremely different and winning films presently in theaters."

Since first making an impression on American audiences in Bigas Luna's 1992 film "Belle Epoque," Cruz has become a fixture on both sides of the Atlantic. Her acclaimed collaborations with filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar include "Live Flesh," "All About My Mother," "Volver," for which she became the first actress from Spain to be nominated for an Academy Award®, and she's just finished filming "Broken Embraces," her fourth film with the accomplished director. Stateside, Cruz landed her first US picture in the coveted role opposite Matt Damon in the film adaptation of "All the Pretty Horses," directed by Billy Bob Thornton. Other notable US films include her co-starring roles with Johnny Depp in Ted Demme's "Blow," and Tom Cruise in Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky," a reprise of her starring role in the original Spanish version of "Open Your Eyes." In October, she will begin working on the enchanting Fellini inspired musical, "Nine," alongside an Academy Award® winning cast including Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Fergie, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren. This multiple Tony Award winning musical will be directed Rob Marshall, Academy Award® winning director of Chicago, and produced by The Weinstein Company.

Additional Tribute recipients will be announced next week. Nominees for the 18th Annual Gotham Awards™ will be announced on October 20th, 2008, and winners will be honored at a star-studded ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on December 2nd. Submissions are now being accepted in five of the six competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Actor, Breakthrough Director and Best Ensemble Cast. Applications are available at http://gotham.ifp.org. The deadline for submissions is 5pm EST on Monday, September 22, 2008.

Sponsors of the 18th Annual Gotham Awards™ include Premiere sponsors The New York Times and Nokia and Presenting sponsors A DIAMOND IS FOREVER and Stella Artois. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times this November.

About IFP
Founded as a satellite program of the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers--voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP believes that independent films enrich the universal language of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. The organization has fostered early work by leading filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith.
For more information: http://www.ifp.org.

About the Gotham Awards™
The Gotham Awards™, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, a home of independent film, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

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