The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival has announced its 2023 honorees. Two-time Academy Award-winning production designer Rick Carter will receive the festival’s King Vidor Award, and two-time Academy Award nominee for best supporting actor Judd Hirsch will receive the Spotlight Award.

Carter will be honored as a featured part of the Filmmaker’s Award ceremonies on Saturday, April 29. On Sunday, April 30, Hirsch will receive his award prior to the Closing Night Gala screening of Marvin Samel’s dramatic comedy iMordecai, starring Hirsch in the title role. Both ceremonies will take place at the historic Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo.

“Every year, there is so much anticipation as to who will be the recipients of our King Vidor Award and Spotlight Award,” according to SLO Film Festival Director Skye McLennan. “This year, not only do our honorees share achievements recognized by the Motion Picture Academy as winners and nominees, but they also both worked on last year’s The Fabelmans. In fact, this may be the first time SLO Film Fest has had a pair of honorees connected by one of their most recent films. They are both extremely talented—we are excited to celebrate their accomplishments and have them share their stories with the SLO Film Festival attendees.”


Rick Carter

Carter is a production designer and art director who has had a hand in creating the visual landscapes and worlds for some of the biggest blockbusters and most beloved cinematic masterpieces in recent memory. Often the man behind today’s visionary filmmakers, he won Academy Awards for both James Cameron’s top-grossing mega-hit Avatar (2010), and his historical production design of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2013). Carter also received nominations for his work on last year’s auto-biographical film from Spielberg, The Fabelmans, Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994), and Spielberg’s historic epic War Horse (2012).

Carter also collaborated with Spielberg as a production designer on such diversely set films as The Post (2017), The BFG (2016), Munich (2005), War of the Worlds (2005), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Amistad (1997), and the blockbusters Jurassic Park (1993) and its sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). He also has frequently worked as Zemeckis’ production designer. Those collaborations include The Polar Express (2004), Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000), Death Becomes Her (1992), and Back to the Future, Part II (1990) as well as Back to the Future, Part III (1989). In a galaxy far far away, Carter was co-production designer on Star Wars–The Force Awakens Episode VII, and Star Wars—The Rise Of Skywalker Episode IX (2019) with director JJ Abrams.


Judd Hirsch

Hirsch has been a singular presence in film, television, and theatre for six decades. He received Academy Award nominations for Robert Redford’s Ordinary People (1980) and last year’s The Fabelmans, breaking the record for the longest gap between Academy Award nominations in history.

He is possibly best known for playing Alex Rieger on the classic television comedy series Taxi (1978-1983), for which he won two Emmys, while also making an indelible impression as John Lacey on the NBC series Dear John (1988-1992), which brought him a Golden Globe award. More recently, he played Alan Eppes on the CBS series Numb3rs (2005-2010). His film roles include Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty (1988), Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996), Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001), Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), and The Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems (2019).


Festival Passes and individual tickets for both nights are now on sale.