Due to his support of French films and filmmaking, Chicago International Film Festival founder and artistic director Michael Kutza has been named a knight of the Legion d’Honneur by the government of France.
In a statement, Vincent Floreani, the French consul general in Chicago, said the award recognized Kutza’s professional achievements “as an internationally recognized graphic designer, filmmaker and founder of the Chicago International Film Festival.”
Kutza has previously been honored by the French government, having received the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from then French minister of culture Jack Lang in 1984.
The Legion d’Honneur is the highest decoration given by the French government, having been created by Napoleon in 1802. The award further recognizes Kutza’s role in the promotion of French cinema and its creators during the 50-plus year fun of the Chicago film festival.
Kutza responded to the honor by expressing his gratitude for the award — “something that seemed so natural for me to do: Bring the best in French films and talent to my city!”
Among others previously honored with the Legion d’Honneur are Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Richard Attenborough, Julia Child, Josephine Baker, Miles Davis, Jerry Lewis, Charles Lindbergh, Paul McCartney, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Kutza will receive his award at a private ceremony on June 16.