Palm Springs Life Magazine

Brunching with the Stars

Variety honored Will Smith and Charlie Kaufman during its annual Sunday brunch at The Parker

Arianna Menon Arts & Entertainment 0 Comments

Palm Springs Life Magazine

“There is a holiness to truth. In stepping up he enlightened all of us,” said Dr. Bennet Omalu when presenting Will Smith with the Variety’s Creative Impact in Acting Award for his performance in Concussion during the Jan. 4 brunch at the Parker Palm Springs presented by Mercedes-Benz.

A self-proclaimed “football dad,” Smith was reluctant to star in a movie that exposed the dangers of football-related head traumas, but the truth is ultimately what motivated him to do it.

“Omalu just wanted to tell the truth and what we do is deliver the truth,” said Smith of the real-life physician, who first discovered the diseases linked to concussions. In the movie, he portrays Dr. Omalu with the same sense of mission and crusades to raise awareness despite all obstacles.

VIDEO: Will Smith talks about why he wanted to be part of Concussion.

Such is the power of cinema — it brings different realities on screen to inform and inspire. Storytelling can also depict an imaginary world such as the one created by Charlie Kaufman in Anomalisa, an animated film he co-directed with Duke Johnson.

Kaufman received the Creative Impact in Directing Award from Jack Black, who praised the director and screenwriter as the Van Gogh of screenplays.

Ten emerging American and international directors were also awarded for their creative works.

Variety chief international critic Peter Debruge introduced eight that were in attendance: Deniz Gamze Erguven (Mustang), Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent), Slavek Horak (Home Care), Duke Johnson (Anomalisa), Peter Landesman (Concussion), Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul), Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), and Elizabeth Wood (White Girl). Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead) and Alex Garland (Ex Machina) were unable to attend.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

(From left) Director Peter Landesman, Will Smith and Dr. Bennet Omalu from the movie, Concussion.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jack Black presented Variety‘s Creative Impact in Directing Award to Charlie Kaufman for Anomalisa.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jack Black (left) and Will Smith share a laugh at the Variety brunch on Jan. 4 in Palm Springs.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Will Smith accepts Variety’s Creative Impact in Acting Award.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jack Black with director Charlie Kaufman, who earned the Creative Impact in Directing Award.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

(From left) Eight of the 10 Directors honored by Variety were on hand, including Elizabeth Wood (White Girl), Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul), Peter Landesman (Concussion), Duke Johnson (Anomalisa), Slavek Horak (Home Care), Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent) and Deniz Gamze Erguven (Mustang).

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Variety Executive Editor Steven Gaydos.

 

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