News of director George Hickenlooper’s sudden death came as a huge shock to the organizers for the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. The director, who was found dead Saturday of apparently natural causes at age 47, was scheduled to close the fest Sunday night with his new film Casino Jack, about former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, starring Kevin Spacey. It will be out early 2011.
“George was one of my closest friends in the industry,” said Gregory von Hausch, FLIFF president and CEO. “He was a fascinating talent with an uncanny knack for storytelling.”
In Hickenlooper’s memory, there will be a montage of his films, including Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, before the 5:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jack screenings at Cinema Paradiso Sunday. The Spirit of Independents Award — which he would have received at the fest — will go to his family.