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Two-time Oscar winning actress Jane Fonda was honored by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with the 10th Annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film this weekend at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara. Former recipients of the Kirk Douglas Award include luminaries such as Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford.
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Jane with SBIFF Kirk Douglas Award

The evening included a special after dinner toast to Fonda. Hennessy’s Paradis Imperial cognac was distributed for a toast. The designer bottle with her award information on it was a gift to her and event attendees all enjoyed the taste and the toast.
Jane Fonda began her acceptance speech by generously recognizing the programs that benefit the annual fundraising dinner Gala which include Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, the 10-10-10 Mentorship program and competitions, the Film Studios Program, Apple Box Family Films and a new Film Camp initiative to be launched this summer.
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Hennessy’s Paradis Imperial cognac

She recalled formerly running a local performing arts camp herself for underprivileged children, and said It was there she discovered the impact art can have on youth, when one of the camp children confessed she had never met people who think about the future. “When you’re poor or not loved, you see no future,” said Fonda. She also mentioned that the camp was powered by alternative energies. “This was the end of the 70s,” she boasted. “So don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have the technology.”
Following a montage of her films, Fonda admitted to having some difficulty watching her career fly by in a series of clips. “I’m 78 and I always think ‘if I could just go back and do this over, I think I could do it better.’” When asked who her greatest mentor was she replied “really, my greatest mentor was Katherine Hepburn, who helped me so much during the film “On Golden Pond.” She also shared how important it is to her to work with actresses coming up, and that she values the great professional and personal friendships she has with women in the industry like Elizabeth Banks and Diane Lane.
Elizabeth Banks, Jane Fonda and Diane Lane

Elizabeth Banks, Jane Fonda and Diane Lane

Elizabeth Banks and Diane Lane presented tributes to Fonda throughout the evening. Lane quoted Edith Wharton and read from a handful of note cards as she tried to explain what it is about Fonda that is so appealing on screen that affects viewers so powerfully. “You’re just elevated to a higher form of comprehension when you watch her work,” said Lane.
As a woman in my seventies who has always been personally inspired by the healthy, positive and proactive lifestyle Jane has personified over the years, as well as the great respect I have for her amazing talent as an actress, I was thrilled Jane Fonda would be this year’s recipient of the SBIFF Kirk Douglas Award. I see her as epitomizing the saying ‘it ain’t over till it’s over’, and I welcomed the opportunity to speak with her on the red carpet and congratulate her personally.
The Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded since 2006 to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of and behind the camera, or both. Kirk Douglas, who is celebrating his 99th birthday and currently sporting a long gray ponytail, was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent his heart warming congratulations via a per-taped message.
The 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival is scheduled to run Feb. 3 – 13, 2016. For informations visit: www.sbiff.org.
By Bonnie Carroll
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