Academy Award winner David Ward

Academy Award winner David Ward

The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival is pleased to announce that the 2009 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Screenwriting is Academy Award winner David Ward.

Ward, most widely known for his scripts Sleepless in Seattle, Major League, and The Sting; will be presented with his award on Friday, September 18th, 2009 at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center. Sandy Steers, BBLIFF Vice President & Screenwriting Director, says “We are very pleased to be able to honor a screenwriter this year. David Ward definitely merits this kind of attention.

David Stephen Ward was born in Providence Rhode Island, October 25th, 1945. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Pomona College before enrolling UCLA’s film school where he obtained an M.F.A. In Motion Pictures. Ward became an official screenwriter in 1973 when his script Steelyard Blues was produced with Peter Boyle, Jane Fonda, and Donald Sutherland in the leading roles. Ward’s second screenplay, The Sting, was a beloved comedy reunited stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford for the first time since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; A success that earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Branching out into directing, Ward stepped behind the megaphone in the 1982 adaptation of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row starring Nick Nolte and Raquel Welch. In 1989 he wrote and directed the baseball comedy Major League starring Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and Wesley Snipes. He subsequently directed the John Goodman comedy King Ralph, the James Caan drama The Program, the sequel Major League II, and the Kelsey Grammer comedy Down Periscope.

In addition to his filmmaking career, Ward is a faculty member at Chapman University where he teaches screenwriting courses. Upcoming projects include the films Luna, Buddha, and the screenwriting documentary Tales from the Script which is screening at this year’s festival on Saturday, September 19. Ward will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival attracts an average of 5,000 attendees to its scenic location yearly and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at this year’s event; September 18th – 20th, 2009. Tickets can be purchased online at the festival website; Or at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center (PAC) Box Office, 39707 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake, Calif. 92315; by phone (PAC) 909-866-4970.