Inaugural AJFF Icon Award Announced, Lawrence Kasdan to be Honored


The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is proud to announce the establishment of its Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts. The inaugural honoree will be distinguished director, screenwriter and producer Lawrence Kasdan.

AJFF will be co-presenting a special conversation with Kasdan on Sunday, May 22, 2016 in partnership with ArtsATL, an independent, non-profit online publication that delivers coverage of and critical dialogue about the arts in Atlanta. The gala event and discussion will take place at the Woodruff Arts Center's Rich Auditorium. It will feature a live Q&A with the 67-year-old filmmaker, as he reflects on his filmography and life experiences in an intimate conversation with Catherine Fox, co-founder of ArtsATL. Tickets for the event will be on sale in the coming weeks at


The Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts will be awarded annually to honor exemplary artists who have upheld the tradition of artistic excellence in film, informed directly or indirectly by a Jewish subject or sensibility, and who inspire preeminence in filmmaking worldwide.

“From the intimate character dramas of The Big Chill and The Accidental Tourist, to the indelible blockbusters of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kasdan’s career continues to have a rich impact on the broad popular consciousness,” says Kenny Blank, executive director of AJFF. “The gifts of storytelling and craftsmanship, which Kasdan’s work reflects, are held in the highest regard by AJFF and our audience.”

"I'm very honored and flattered to be the first recipient of the AJFF Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts, a pleasure only increased in that it is co-presented by ArtsATL, an organization dear to my heart,” Kasdan says of the tribute.

Responsible for writing some of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood history, Kasdan is an accomplished director who specializes in helming poignant ensemble character dramas including The Big Chill (1983). He made his directorial debut with the steamy noir Body Heat (1981), followed by such films as Silverado (1985), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Wyatt Earp (1994) and Dreamcatcher (2003). Kasdan co-wrote the Star Wars sequel trilogy film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the biggest hit in U.S. history, and has written the series’ Han Solo spin-off film with his son Jon. He has been nominated for four Oscars: twice for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Chill (1983) and Grand Canyon (1981), and twice for The Accidental Tourist (1988), for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay; the film was awarded Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. In 2006, the Writers Guild of America West bestowed the Screen Laurel Award, screenwriting’s highest honor, for life achievement in the field.

For more information about the event, keep an eye on or stay connected via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @ATLjewishFilm.