‘CODA’ Oscar Winner Siân Heder Set For AFI Honor

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Siân Heder, who directed and won an Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Best Picture winner CODA, will receive the American Film Institute’s 2022 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, AFI said today. She will receive the honor June 9 during the AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Julie Andrews, which will air June 16 on TNT.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal is awarded annually to an alumnus of either the AFI Conservatory or the AFI Directing Workshop for Women who best embodies the qualities of the late director: talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality filmmaking. Heder is a 2005 alum of the DWW.

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‘CODA’ - Credit: Everett
‘CODA’ - Credit: Everett

Everett

“Siân Heder is a voice the world needs now more than ever,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said. “We are proud to honor her as an alumna of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women – and, more importantly, as a storyteller who drives culture forward with an inspiring alchemy of intellect and heart.”

Heder’s CODA was a sensation when it premiered at Sundance in 2021, winning a pair of top awards, and Apple paid a record $25 million to win a bidding war for the pic. It went on to score three Academy Award nominations, with Troy Kotsur winning Best Supporting Actor. The pic centers on Ruby (Emilia Jones), a child of deaf adults who is the only hearing person in her family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her passion at Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant also star.

Heder began her career with the short film Mother, which was made during her AFI days and went on to be nominated for the Cinéfondation Jury Award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Her debut feature Tallulah, a feature adaptation of Mother starring Elliot Page and Alison Janney, premiered Sundance in 2016 and was released as a Netflix original.

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