Two artists with strong ties to Northern California were honored at Monday night's SFFILM Awards in San Francisco.
Academy Award nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig, who was born and raised in Sacramento, is the brains behind this year's record-breaking megahit 'Barbie.' She is the first female to solo direct a billion-dollar movie.
"I still sort of can't believe that anybody ever let us make this movie, but I'm so grateful that they did," said Gerwig on the red carpet Monday night at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
SFFILM honored Geriwg for film direction at its annual star-studded awards night and fundraising dinner. Proceeds from the event support the next generation of artists.
Ryan Gosling, who played Ken in 'Barbie' presented her with the Irving M. Levin Award, which was named in honor of the San Francisco Film Festival's founder.
Gerwig wrote Ryan Gosling's name on the script before he was cast in the film, which is the year's highest grossing movie.
"Noah [Baumbach] and I wrote his name and I think sometimes people say that as hyperbole like I've written this part for you, but I really did," said Gerwig.
"It's kind of like that movie 'Big.' My experience was little, but Greta wrote me and then the next day I woke up and suddenly I was Ken and Ken'd as hard as I could and now I'm a boy again," Gosling said. "I'm so excited to be here because I'm so glad that they're honoring Greta. I think she deserves all the awards."
Another of the night's awardees was Academy Award winning actor Nicolas Cage, who received the Maria Manetti Shrem Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I'm very happy to be back in this beautiful city, my second time here at this film festival, longest running film festival in the United States," said Cage. "Such an important thing that they do, they're raising funds to help develop, locate and give the means to young filmmakers to express their cinematic visions and dreams."
The actor, who has more than 100 films in his body of work spanning 40 years, used to live in San Francisco.
"I love the weather, I love it to be a little misty. I love the architecture, the old Victorian queen Annes and what not, the people are kind and the food has been great," he said. "Some of my best memories of my life are in this city, my childhood with my cousins."
Cage isn't slowing down anytime soon. He has another five movies coming up. For aspiring actors who may feel that a career like his is out of reach, he shared some advice:
"First you gotta change your thinking, don't think it's an unattainable dream, give yourself time, and develop it wherever you're deploying your skills as an actor, whether it's on stage or anywhere, just keep doing it."
There were other artists honored at Monday night's ceremony and dinner. Academy Award winning filmmaker Roger Ross WIlliams won the Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman Award for Storytelling and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Cord Jefferson was honored with the George Gund III for Virtuosity Award.
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