Julie Taymor to receive AIFF award

Award-winning film and theater director Julie Taymor has been selected to receive the Ashland Independent Film Festival's 2012 Artistic Achievement Award.

The award will be presented during the festival's annual Awards Celebration at the Historic Ashland Armory, Sunday, April 15.

Taymor is most widely recognized for her theatrical production of "The Lion King," which opened on Broadway in 1997 and earned her the distinction of being the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical as well as a Tony Award for her original costume designs for the production. Taymor is also the director, co-book writer and mask designer for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," Broadway's hit rock musical.

Most recently, Taymor directed the feature film "The Tempest," a reinterpretation of Shakespeare's play. Taymor's previous credits include the award-wining "Across the Universe," which features 35 Beatles songs and performances by Bono, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard and Salma Hayek.

Both "The Tempest" and "Across the Universe" will screen during the April film festival, and Taymor will be present for audience Q&A.

On Friday evening, April 13, AIFF will present an on-stage interview titled "Essential Transformation: In Conversation with Julie Taymor."

The interview will be conducted by Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch. Taymor will share behind-the-scenes footage illustrating her creative process and provide audiences with an opportunity to learn about her process of adapting existing works to new mediums

"I was first transported by the magic of Julie Taymor's artistry when I was a student almost thirty years ago, and she worked on our campus at the American Repertory Theater," said Rauch. "It's a great honor to have the opportunity to interview this highly influential artist."

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