The Venice Film Festival have paid tribute to American film director William Friedkin, presenting him with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award.
According to the festival’s organisers, Friedkin has made major contributions to US cinema without receiving the recognition he is due.
Despite directing a host of classics – including ‘Cruising’ and ‘The French Connection’ – the director will be forever venerated for ‘The Exorcist’. Widely considered one of the most terrifying films of all time, this prestige horror famously features the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl, played by Linda Blair.
‘The Exorcist’ earned 10 Academy Award nominations, grossing over $441 million worldwide, and in a news conference ahead of the ceremony, Friedkin shared what he had learned, along with some robust advise for future film-makers: “What is my advice to young people? If you’re in cinema school, leave immediately. Leave. Go out, get a small camera, make your film, edit it at home, put in on a website and do it yourself. Don’t worry about criticism. Just let the audience see your work.”
Known affectionately as the wild-man of 1970s cinema, Friedkin was famous for on-set tantrums, frequenting prostitutes and firing up to 70 people in one day.
Cast and crew on his last film – ‘Killer Joe’, which aired at the Venice festival in 2011 – have since confirmed that the 77-year-old veteran director is as bombastic as ever.