James Franco, writer/director/actor/everything, will get a special prize at the Venice Film Festival: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.
Franco will be at the festival with his take on Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, yet another adaptation of a great work of American literature largely thought to be unfilmable. The film will premiere out of competition. In a statement via Deadline the director of the festival, Alberto Barbera, had some high praise for the film calling it a "major thread in his creative approach, characterized by boldness, lucidity, courage and self-confidence." Barbera also called Franco "one of the most versatile and multi-talented auteurs on the current American scene, as an actor in cinema and theater, director, screenwriter, producer, soap-opera star, video-artist and much more – indeed, a relentless ‘manufacturer’ of cultural imagery." Honestly, "'manufacturer' of cultural imagery" doesn't sound like that great a thing, but whatever.
If the prize itself sounds like a remnant of this particular film festivals more, well, fascist past—it used to give out Mussolini Cups—it's actually named for a film by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano, and Franco joins some illustrious and — and rather odd — company. In 2009 Sylvester Stallone was awarded the prize, for instance. That year a director's cut of the Rambo reboot ran out of competition.
So all hail James Franco and Sylvester Stallone: glorious filmmakers.