Maverick Spirit Event - John Turturro

Mav Spirit Turturro

Maverick Spirit Event - John Turturro

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“My interest lies in my self-expression - what’s inside of me - not what I’m in.” – John Turturro

Cinequest is honored to present our Maverick Spirit Award to an actor, director, screenwriter, and a household name that has stirred our souls through over sixty films. You may remember him as the irate Herbie Stempel in Robert Redford’s Quiz Show (1994), been delighted by his writing, directing, and acting in Romance & Cigarettes, or captivated by his role as the stoic and menacing John Shooter in Secret Window (2004). On March 1st at 7:00pm in the legendary California Theatre, Cinequest presents our Opening Night Event and Party with Maverick Spirit Award recipient John Turturro and a premier screening of his latest film Passione.

Born in Brooklyn to an endearingly bawdy jazz singer and an ex-naval officer turned carpenter, some of the stranger moments in Turturro’s early life set the stage for his future career in the film industry. In an interview with Mark Kermode for The National Film Theater in England, Turturro recounts a story of his mother recruiting her two sons as backup dancers while she performed an almost- family-friendly strip tease to cheer up her husband. Always encouraged by his mother to have confidence in his abilities and not to fear the vulnerability that comes with the creative process, Turturro went on to receive his MFA from the Yale School of Drama and make his acting debut as an extra in Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed Raging Bull (1980).

Shortly thereafter, Spike Lee took notice of Turturro’s performance in Five Corners (1986) and they embarked on a longtime collaboration which would lead to roles in films such as the racist Pino in Do the Right Thing (1989), a confused boyfriend in Jungle Fever (1991), a detective in Clockers (1995) and his part as the memorable voice of Harvey the Black Dog in Summer of Sam (1999).Turturro’s collaborative spirit led him to the iconic Coen Brothers through whom he starred in Miller’s Crossing (1990) as the weasley Bernie Bernbaum, Barton Fink (1991) as the obsessive and off-kilter playwright for the common man, The Big Lebowski (1998) as the pedophile ten pin bowler, Jesus and O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) as the slow but loyal chain gang member, Pete.

His acting range and ability to bring himself to a role with no holds barred are what have made Turturro a fan-favorite, but his writing and directing chops reveal his mastery of the art of cinema. His debut as writer and director, Mac (1992), won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and his combined efforts through writing, producing, and acting led Romance & Cigarettes to a nomination for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and much popular acclaim.

John Turturro may be many things, ranging from, in his words, “Spike Lee’s Caucasian representative” to a man who defies stereotypes, but through it all, Turturro has always embodied the individuality, drive, creativity and fearlessness that it takes to be a true Maverick.

To purchase tickets or learn more about this event, please visit the Opening Night Film - Passione page.

Sponsor:
Cinequest Film Festival 21 Presents