San Francisco Film Society to Present 2016 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to Peter Coyote at 59th San Francisco International Film Festival

Prolific Actor, Voiceover Artist, Writer and Musician to Receive Honor at Film Society Awards Night at Fort Mason Center, April 25


San Francisco, CA — The San Francisco Film Society announced today that legendary Bay Area champion of the arts Peter Coyote will be the recipient of the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21–May 5). The award will be presented to Coyote at Film Society Awards Night, Monday April 25 at Fort Mason Center – Herbst Pavilion. The George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award, given in tribute to the longstanding Film Society chairman of the board who passed away in 2013, honors a worthy member of the filmmaking community for outstanding and unique contributions to the art of cinema.

The Film Society and its year-round exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs will benefit from the Film Society Awards Night fundraiser honoring Coyote. The star-studded event will also honor Mira Nair, who will receive the Irving M. Levin Directing Award; and the soon-to-be-announced recipients of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting and the Kanbar Award for excellence in storytelling. Heidi Castelein and Victoria Raiser are co-chairs of this year's gala, which is sponsored by NET-A-PORTER.COM.

"Peter Coyote is a Bay Area institution, and he has been an integral part of this film community for decades," said Noah Cowan, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. "His tireless efforts in defense of the arts are truly inspiring, and it is a great pleasure to be honoring someone whose values so closely reflect our own as an organization."

Peter Coyote is an accomplished actor, a gifted voiceover artist, a distinguished writer and a talented musician with more than 300 film and television credits to his name. He has performed as an actor for some of the world's most distinguished filmmakers, including Barry Levinson, Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodóvar, Steven Spielberg, Martin Ritt, Steven Soderbergh, Sydney Pollack and Jean-Paul Rappeneau. In 2000 he was the cohost of the Oscars with Billy Crystal.

He is an Emmy Award-winning narrator of over 120 documentary films, including Ken Burns' National Parks, Prohibition, The West, The Dust Bowl and The Roosevelts, for which Coyote received his second Emmy nomination in July 2015. Coyote has written a memoir of the 1960s counter-culture called Sleeping Where I Fall which received universally excellent reviews, appeared on three best-seller lists, sold five printings in hardback and was re-released with a new cover and afterword in May, 2009. A chapter from that book, "Carla's Story," won the 1993–94 Pushcart Prize for excellence in non-fiction. His latest book, The Rainman's Third Cure: An Irregular Education, about mentors and the search for wisdom, was released in April 2015 by Counterpoint Press.

From 1975 to 1983 Coyote was a member and then Chairman of the California State Arts Council. During his Chairmanship and under his tenure, expenditures on the arts increased from $1 million to $16 million annually. He is an ordained Zen Buddhist priest who has been practicing for 40 years and is currently in the process of receiving Transmission from his teacher granting him autonomy and the right to ordain priests and establish his own lineage. He is and has been engaged in political and social causes since his early teens. He considers his 1952 Dodge Power Wagon to be his least harmful addiction.

George Gund III was an avid film lover and distinguished philanthropist whose unwavering support of the San Francisco Film Society spanned more than four decades. He led the organization and its annual San Francisco International Film Festival into a period of unprecedented growth and success, resulting in a robust year-round cultural institution that now reaches more cinema enthusiasts and supports more filmmakers than any other time in its history. Created in 2011, the George Gund III Award pays homage to Gund for the more than 40 years of service to the organization and will be given periodically to a member of the film community in recognition of their distinguished service to cinema as an art form.

For more information about Film Society Awards Night please call 415-561-5028 or email

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59th San Francisco International Film Festival
The 59th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 21-May 5 at the Castro Theatre, the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, the Roxie Theater and the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco and BAMPFA in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, SFIFF is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring nearly 200 films and live events, 14 juried awards with nearly $40,000 in cash prizes and upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests.