Bruce Dern Comes Home to Chicago for the Centerpiece Presentation of Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival honors the Kenilworth Native with Its Career Achievement Award

CHICAGO, IL – The 49th Chicago International Film Festival (October 10 – 24, 2013) announces the selection of “Nebraska,” directed by Academy Award®-winner Alexander Payne, written by Bob Nelson and starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte and Stacy Keach, as the Festival’s Centerpiece Film. “Nebraska” will screen on October 16 at 7 p.m. at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.). The Festival will present Bruce Dern, winner of the Award for Best Actor at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, a Career Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding and diverse work during this gala presentation.

“I’ve been a fan of Bruce Dern’s work since I first saw him in Sydney Pollack’s ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ ” said Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival Michael Kutza. “In fact, you could say I grew up on his films! He has worked with some of the world’s finest filmmakers: Hal Ashby, Walter Hill, John Frankenheimer, Francis Ford Coppola, Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock and now Alexander Payne. Dern delivers, without a doubt, a knockout performance in Payne’s heartwarming and charming new film. We are proud to honor this fellow Chicagoan with one of the Festival’s top awards.”

After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, “Nebraska” tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.

Bruce Dern’s tremendous career is made up of playing both modern day heroes and legendary villains. Through decades of critically acclaimed performances, Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. A celebrated stage actor, he was trained by famed director Elia Kazan at The Actor’s Studio and made his film debut in Kazan’s “Wild River” (1960). In the 1960s, Dern also found success as a distinguished television actor. He appeared regularly in contemporary Western TV-series as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s television series, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” Hitchcock was such a fan of Dern, he cast him in both “Marnie” and, “Family Plot” (Hitchcock’s final film). During the 1960s, Dern went on to work with director Roger Corman and appeared in several of his classic and decade defining films including “Wild Angels.” He received critical success for films such as “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” and “Drive, He Said” and went down in history for his role as Long Hair in The Cowboys in which he became the first man ever to kill John Wayne.

Bruce went on to star in such classic films like “The King Of Marvin Gardens” with Jack Nicholson and Ellen Burstyn as well as playing Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby” (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination). It was his brilliant and powerful performance in Hal Ashby’s “Coming Home” that earned him both an Academy Award® and Golden Globe nomination. Bruce co-starred with Charlize Theron in “Monster,” one of the most critically acclaimed independent films of all time, and he can also be seen on the HBO series “Big Love.” Most recently Bruce has worked with iconic directors Francis Ford Coppola in “Twixt,” Quentin Tarantino in “Django Unchained.”

Other credits include: “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” with Bette Davis, Douglas Trumbull’s “Silent Running,” Michael Ritchie’s “Smile, Middle Age Crazy” with Anne Margret, Jason Miller’s “That Championship Season,” “Tattoo” with Maude Adams, “The ‘Burbs” with Tom Hanks, “The Haunting” with Catherine Zeta Jones, Billy Bob Thornton’s “All the Pretty Horses,” Bob Dylan’s “Masked and Anonymous,” “Down in the Valley” with Edward Norton, “Astronaut Farmer” with Billy Bob Thornton, “The Cake Eaters” with Kristin Stewart. His other outstanding films include the much heralded “After Dark My Sweet,” “Harry Tracy,” “On the Edge,” “Laughing Policeman,” “Posse,” the great John Frankenheimer’s “Black Sunday,” and Walter Hill’s “The Driver.”

The grandson of Greek immigrants, Alexander Payne grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was educated by Jesuits. He later studied History and Spanish Literature at Stanford University before earning an MFA in Film Directing at UCLA. His first two feature films were the comedies “Citizen Ruth” (1996) and “Election” (1999). “About Schmidt” premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. Both “Sideways” (2004) and “The Descendants” (2011) won Oscars® for Best Adapted Screenplay and were nominated for four others, including Best Picture and Best Director. Four of his six feature films were filmed in Nebraska.