THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
Two-time Academy Award winner SEAN PENN has become an American film icon in a
career spanning nearly three decades. Penn has been nominated five times for the
Academy Award as Best Actor for "Dead Man Walking," "Sweet and Lowdown," "I Am
Sam" and won his first Oscar in 2003 for his searing performance in Clint
Eastwood's "Mystic River" and his second Oscar as Best Actor in 2009 for Gus
Van Sant's "Milk." The performance as gay rights icon Harvey Milk also garnered
Penn "Best Actor" awards from The Screen Actors Guild, New York Film Critics
Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Penn has also received Best Actor awards at the Cannes ("She's So Lovely") and
Berlin ("Dead Man Walking") Film Festivals, as well as being a two-time winner
of Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival ("Hurlyburly," "21 Grams").
Penn most recently starred opposite Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's highly
acclaimed drama "The Tree of Life", which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes
Film Festival. Penn will next be seen in Paolo Sorrentino's "This Must Be the
Place," which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and in Ruben
Fleischer's "Gangster Squad" opposite Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Josh Brolin
which will be released in January of 2013.
Penn's feature film directorial debut came with 1991's "The Indian Runner,"
which he also wrote and produced. In 1995, he directed "The Crossing Guard,"
which he also wrote and produced. His third film as director/producer was 2001's
"The Pledge" starring Jack Nicholson and was named in the Top Ten Films of 2001
by The National Board of Review. Since then, Penn wrote and directed the United
States contribution to the compilation film "11'09'01." This important project
gathered 11 acclaimed directors from around the world to create short films in
response to the horrific events of September 11, 2001. In 2003 the film was
nominated for a French Cesar in the best European Union Film category and
received a special recognition award from the National Board of Review. As
writer, producer and director, "Into the Wild" marked Penn's fourth feature
film, which opened to rave reviews in September 2007. The film, based on Jon
Krakauer's best-selling non-fiction book, premiered at the Telluride and Toronto
Film Festivals and appeared on many lists of the top ten films of 2007.
Penn has appeared on stage in productions including Alfred Hayes' "Girl on the
Via Flaminia" and Albert Innaurato's "Earthworms In Los Angeles." On Broadway,
Penn performed in Kevin Heelan's "Heartland" and John Byrne's "Slab Boys." He
appeared in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly," at the Westwood Playhouse, and "Goose and
Tom Tom," at Lincoln Center, both productions directed by the author. Most
recently, Penn starred opposite Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson in "The Late
Henry Moss," written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sam Shepard.
In 2002, Sean Penn was presented with the Modern Master Award at the Santa
Barbara International Film Festival, and in 2003, became the youngest recipient
to ever receive the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Sebastian
Film Festival. In 2004, he was honored with the John Steinbeck Award for
outspoken torch-bearers in the creative arts. In 2008, Penn received the Desert
Palm Achievement Award for Acting, after being presented in 2007 with the
Director of the Year Award for "Into the Wild" from the Palm Springs
International Film Festival. Penn served as President of the jury for the 2008
Cannes International Film Festival and later that year was named a Knight in the
French Legion of Honor.
As a journalist, Penn has written for Time, Interview, Rolling Stone and The
Nation magazines. In 2004, Penn wrote a two-part feature in The San Francisco
Chronicle after a second visit to the war-torn Iraq. In 2005, he wrote a
five-part feature in the same paper reporting from Iran during the election
which led to the Ahmadinejad regime. Penn's landmark interviews with Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, and
Cuba's President Raul Castro, were published in The Nation and The Huffington
Post. Penn's interview with President Castro was the first-ever interview with
an international journalist.
Penn's humanitarian work found him in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. In January
2010, Penn established the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO). J/P HRO
has become a leader in Haiti across multiple sectors working to improve living
conditions in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and surrounding
neighborhoods by clearing rubble, and providing medical services, education and
enrichment programs, housing construction, and neighborhood redevelopment. J/P
HRO's main objective remains to help displaced people get back to durable,
safer, and permanent homes in revitalized neighborhoods.
For his efforts, Penn has received numerous honors and awards, among them: the
Commander's Award for Service (US Army 82nd Airborne Division); 82nd Airborne
Award for Meritorious Service; the Operation Unified Response JTF Haiti
Certificate from Lieutenant General, US Army Commander P.K. Keen; the 1st Recon
73rd Division Coin of Excellence; 2nd Brigade Combat Team Coin of Excellence;
Commendation of Excellence United States Southern Command; Award of Excellence
by the Deputy Commander US Southern Command; the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian
Award from the Hollywood Film Festival; the 2011 Stanley Kramer Award from the
Producers Guild of America; and the Children's and Families Global Development
Fund Humanitarian Award, presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti.
In July 2010, Penn was knighted by Haitian President Rene Preval in a ceremony
In 2012, Penn was named Ambassador at Large for Haiti and was presented with
this honor by President Michel Martelly at a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince. Most
recently, Penn was presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World
Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The award was presented by President Mikhail
Gorbachev at a ceremony in Chicago.
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