Stars will shine at Vail Film Festival |

Stars will shine at Vail Film Festival

Associated PressVail Film Fest: Actor-director Zach Braff, shown here with Natalie Portman in a scene from "Garden State," will be given the Renegade Award for "risk-taking in film" at this year's Vail Film Festival.

VAIL – Actor-director Zach Braff, actor Dennis Haysbert and actress Jane Seymour will be honored with awards at this year’s Vail Film Festival.

Braff will be presented with the Renegade Award for “risk-taking in film.” That is largely based on his 2004 film, “Garden State,” organizers say.

The New Jersey native also stars in the long-running hospital sit-com “Scrubs” on NBC.

“We’re really fond of ‘Scrubs,’ and thought he did an amazing job with ‘Garden State,’ especially taking on the primary roles of writer, director and actor. We feel he’s proved himself already even out of the gate as a filmmaker, but we’re also looking forward, honoring him for the career we think he will have,” said Sean Cross, co-director of the Vail Film Festival.

The movie’s soundtrack won a Grammy Award. Cary Brothers, whose song “Blue Eyes” was featured on the soundtrack, attends the Vail Film Festival each year as part of the Music Cafe.

Braff is currently working on a new movie, “Swingles,” which he is directing and starring in. The movie’s cast also features Cameron Diaz.

Last year, director Kevin Smith was honored with the award.

“We felt Zach was the same way (as Smith),” Cross said. “Basically, it took a lot of guts and risk-taking to go out on his own and make ‘Garden State.’ He’s taken a lot of risks with ‘Scrubs,’ behind the camera, directing episodes.”

Dennis Haysbert, who may be best known for playing President David Palmer on Fox’s “24,” is receiving the Vanguard Award for Excellence in Acting.

“We’ve always admired his work,” Cross said. “He’s an amazing actor. He’s a groundbreaking actor as well, playing a black president on ’24’ – that made an impact. He’s done an amazing job on ‘The Unit,’ definitely one of my favorite shows. He’s a very strong actor, and we’re very excited to have him out.”

Haysbert’s recent movies include 2007’s “Goodbye Bafana,” in which he starred as Nelson Mandela; Todd Haynes’ 2002 film, “Far From Heaven”; and Sam Mendes’ 2005 movie, “Jarhead.”

Haysbert narrates one of the films in this year’s festival, “When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun,” a documentary about Tibet’s independence movement.

“I think he’s interested in human freedom anywhere and definitely he’s very passionate,” Cross said.

Due to illness, Haysbert is unable to appear at the festival.

Jane Seymour will receive the Riva Award for Achievement in Acting. She’s well known for her starring role in the television series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” She has also starred in “Live and Let Die,” “Somewhere in Time,” “Wedding Crashers” and “The Assistants,” which will be screen at this year’s festival at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session.

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Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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