Sony Pictures Classics Chiefs receive Zurich honor

Sony Pictures Classics co-founders Michael Barker and Tom Bernard are honored with the Game Changer Award at the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) for their contributions to film culture.

Barker and Bernard, who serve as Co-Presidents, along with Marcie Bloom, formed Sony Pictures Classics as a separate division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. To date, the studio’s films have received 183 Oscar nominations – 70 of which were women’s films – and won 41 Oscars. The studio’s best-known films include Call Me By Your Name, The Father, Whiplash, Midnight in Paris, Howard’s End and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Christian Jungs, artistic director of the ZFF, says: “Among film fans, Sony Pictures Classics is synonymous with intelligent auteur cinema. Michael and Tom have been producing and distributing quality entertainment for 30 years. They introduced the American public to great European authors like Almodóvar, Wenders and Maren Ade and gave the world the best of American independent cinema. Others have come and gone – they have been successful for 30 years and have remained true to the cinema. We want to honor this achievement with our award.”

“Sony Pictures Classics also did a lot for diversity in the film industry and made titles like the gay love story ‘Call Me By Your Name’ or the trans-themed ‘A Fantastic Woman’ a success – long before diversity was a requirement of the time,” added boys added.

Barker and Bernard said: “The Zurich Film Festival has not only contributed to the successful launch of many important films, but has always been a great place to meet, engage and exchange ideas with filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors. This award focuses on 30 years of Sony Pictures Classics films and the talented filmmakers who made them. We believe they are the real game changers and we share this award with them. Thank you Zurich Film Festival for the award.”

Awards presented to Barker and Bernard include the Directors Guild of America Honors Award, the FINDIE Spirit Award, the GLAAD Media Award, the Gotham Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the Independent Feature Project in New York, the Outfest’s Legacy Award and Film Independent’s Spirit of Independence Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival. They have been awarded the French Legion of Honor by the French government and the Women in Film Beacon Award by Women in Film Los Angeles in recognition of their support of women filmmakers throughout their careers.

The ZFF takes place from 22 Sept.-Oct. 2. Barker and Bernard will accept the award on September 25 during the Zurich Summit Dinner. The president of the MGM Motion Picture Group won the Game Changer Award in 2021 and the Swiss distribution company Ascot Elite in 2020. Sony Pictures Classics Chiefs receive Zurich honor

Charles Jones

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