Pass the Remote: SFFILM honors Ryan Coogler, Sarah Polley, Margot Robbie

From left, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Evans, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and Winston Duke attend the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" screening on Nov. 1 in New York City. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Disney)

Oakland hometown hero “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” director Ryan Coogler will be presented with SFFILM’s prestigious Irving M. Levin Award for Direction at the star-studded SFFILM Awards Night, a fundraiser on Dec. 5 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.  

Coogler is slated to appear to accept the honor, given in memory of the founder of the San Francisco International Film Festival to individuals who are groundbreaking forces in world cinema. Actor-playwright Danai Gurira will present the award to Coogler.   

Oscar nominee Sarah Polley, whose drama “Women Talking” about abused Mennonite women finding solidarity will be released in December, will receive the SFFILM Award for Storytelling from writer-publisher Dave Eggers.   

Margot Robbie*, star of the splashy upcoming Hollywood epic “Babylon” and the new “Barbie” movie, receives the Maria Manetti Shrem* Award for Acting from director Damien Chazelle.   

Awards Night is an annual fundraiser whose proceeds go to support SFFILM’s mission to discover and shepherd emerging film artists. 
In a prepared statement, SFFILM Executive Director Anne Lai said, “Each of these phenomenal artists brings the highest levels of skill to their latest work, creating the year’s most indelible films. This evening of celebration not only honors their unique contributions, but also fuels our ability to achieve our year-round initiatives nurturing filmmakers, supporting students, and bringing audiences together through the transformative power of cinematic storytelling.”

In addition to the two box-office “Black Panther” blockbusters, Coogler rebooted the “Rocky” franchise with his stellar “Creed” starring Michael B. Jordan and gained attention with his tear-your-heart “Fruitvale Station,” also with Jordan, about the final hours in the life of Oscar Grant, an Oakland man who was fatally shot by a BART police officer. 

Past recipients of the Irving M. Levin Award include: Jane Campion, Chloé Zhao, Marielle Heller, Steve McQueen, Kathryn Bigelow, Mira Nair, Guillermo del Toro, Richard Linklater, Philip Kaufman and Kenneth Branagh, among many.  

The 2022 SFFFILM Awards Night is at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at YBCA, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. Tickets are $1,250; visit

*This article was updated on Nov. 25 to correct misspellings in the names of Maria Manetti Shrem and Margot Robbie.

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