PALM SPRINGS — Martin Scorsese will receive the Sonny Bono Visionary Award for The Irishman at The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Awards Gala.

The event, presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart, is scheduled for Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.

“Martin Scorsese has directed another masterpiece about the world of organized crime with his latest film The Irishman, which brings to life the epic story of hitman Frank Sheeran.  The film is one of Scorsese’s finest and features outstanding performances from its stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci,” Festival Chairman Harold Matzner said in a news release. “We are delighted to recognize Martin Scorsese with this year’s Sonny Bono Visionary Award for this  extraordinary directorial achievement.”

The award is named after the festival’s founder and former Palm Springs Mayor, accorded to a filmmaker that breaks boundaries in the art of cinema.  Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Director Alfonso Cuarón, along with filmmakers Danny Boyle, Michel Hazanavicius, Tom Hooper, Tom McCarthy, Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino. Scorsese joins this year’s previously announced honorees Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger.

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.  Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, the drama is directed by Scorsese for Netflix from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian.

Martin Scorsese has directed the critically acclaimed, award-winning films including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Silence, The Departed, which won an Academy Award® for Best Director and Best Picture, Shutter Island, and Hugo for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Director. His 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street received DGA, BAFTA and Academy Award® nominations for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe and an Academy Award® nomination for Best Film. Scorsese has directed numerous documentaries including the Peabody Award winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia; Italianamerican, The Last Waltz, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Public Speaking, Shine a Light, and “George Harrison: Living in the Material World”, for which Scorsese received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Nonfiction Special. In 2010, Scorsese executive produced the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”, winning an Emmy and DGA Award for directing the pilot episode. In 2014, he co-directed “The 50 Year Argument” with his long-time documentary editor, David Tedeschi.

Scorsese directed the pilot episode of “Vinyl” for HBO in 2016; and in 2019, Netflix released “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese”; the director’s second film about Dylan, this one focused on his legendary 1975 tour.

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