Friday, March 07, 2014





“A Candid Conversation with Morgan Freeman” Brings Together Two of Hollywood’s Biggest Talents Saturday, June 7 at the Ritz Carlton
 Jon Turteltaub, one of the most successful feature film directors in Hollywood, will lead a candid and thought-provoking conversation with Morgan Freeman at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s 2014 gala, “A Candid Conversation with Morgan Freeman,” on Saturday, June 7.  The festive evening will celebrate the Academy Award®-winning actor’s legendary career and give attendees insight into his favorite projects, key influences and creative process. A retrospective of film clips from his most memorable performances will accompany the conversation. The evening will culminate with the presentation of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Renaissance Award to Freeman by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) President Dr. Walter E. Massey

Turtletaub recently directed Freeman in the hit comedy “Last Vegas,” co-starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline.  He is known for various powerful and emotional films including "The Kid," "Instinct," "Phenomenon," "Cool Runnings," "While You Were Sleeping" and "3 Ninjas." Turteltaub also produced and directed the blockbusters "National Treasure," "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”  Television viewers will recognize him as the executive producer and a director of the hit series "Jericho" and the thriller “Harper’s Island.”

“Once again, the Gene Siskel Film Center will bring the A-List of Hollywood’s film industry to Chicago,” said Chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board Ellen Sandor.  “To have the intellect and experience of the great Morgan Freeman paired with the genius and insight of Jon Turtletaub will treat our audience to a truly special evening.”

The gala is co-chaired by longstanding GSFC supporters and Advisory Board members Eda Davidman and Melissa Sage Fadim.  All proceeds support the Gene Siskel Film Center’s eclectic film programming as well as lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers.  This programming provides the opportunity for students and the Chicago community to experience the best in film presentation. The annual fundraiser is the primary event that ensures that the GSFC can continue to present the highest quality films and film-related events in Chicago.

“Morgan Freeman is a true living legend,” said GSFC of the SAIC Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin. “In a film career that spans more than four decades and an incredibly diverse canon of roles, audiences have come to expect that Mr. Freeman will deliver performances that are insightful, moving and always memorable.  The instantly recognizable, deep resonance of his voice brings a distinctive richness to every film he appears in or narrates. It is a great honor for us to welcome him to Chicago as we salute him for mesmerizing movie-goers throughout the years.”

Each year, the Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the art of film by honoring a filmmaker who advances the art of cinema. Past Renaissance Award honorees have included some of the most respected actors and directors working in the film industry today, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., George Lucas, Nicole Kidman, Bob Balaban, John Woo, Michael Mann, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman.

About Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman was awarded the Academy Award® for best actor in 2005 for his performance in “Million Dollar Baby” and has been nominated four additional times.  The Golden Globes awarded him the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2012, and he also won a Golden Globe for his performance in “Driving Miss Daisy.”  He won the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2005 and has thrice been nominated for acting awards by the Chicago Film Critics Association. His first credited film performance was in 1971's “Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?” and television audiences came to know him for his appearances on “Another World” and “The Electric Company.” Equally adept in dramatic and comedic roles, some of his most memorable film performances include “Batman Begins,  “Bruce Almighty,” “The Bucket List,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Glory,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Seven,”  “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Street Smart” and “Unforgiven.” He directed the critically acclaimed “Bopha!” in 1993, the story of a South African policeman during apartheid. He frequently serves as the narrator for films and television programs, notably for “March of the Penguins.”

Tickets and More Information
The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago proudly presents the Renaissance Award Gala in honor of the Academy Award ®-winning actor and director Morgan Freeman Saturday, June 7 at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E. Pearson Street. Single tickets range in price from $500 to $1,000 (VIP). Table sponsorships range in price from $5,000 to $50,000.  Call (312) 846-2072 for tickets, tables or more information.

About the Gene Siskel Film Center
The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates cutting edge film programs, independent and international cinema, premieres, retrospectives and classic films. Internationally recognized for its original film programming, the Film Center is a vibrant cultural destination in Chicago that attracts a diverse and creative annual audience of over 70,000.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
A leader in educating artists, designers and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also enables adults, high school students, middle school students and children to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures and performances.  For more information, please visit

The Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC are part of The Art Institute of Chicago. For more information about the Art Institute please visit


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