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John Waters and Dennis Lim to Receive Insignia Of The Order Of Arts and Letters

New York, April 16, 2018—Filmmaker and artist John Waters, and film curator and critic Dennis Lim will be awarded the insignias of Officier and Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, respectively, by Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy on Monday, May 7 in New York at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Waters and Lim will receive this distinction in recognition of their tremendous contributions to the fields of film and literature, and the impact of these contributions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

John Waters, born in Baltimore, Maryland, has been a filmmaker for over fifty years, having made his first film, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, in 1964. His 1972 film Pink Flamingos established him as the leading “trash cinema” filmmaker, and his film became a smash success at midnight screenings around the world and a cult classic. His 1988 Hairspray—starring American actor and singer Divine, with whom he collaborated for many—was his first film intended for mainstream audiences and was a box office success, after which he continued to make films for broader audiences that have nonetheless retained his originality. Along with being a great admirer of French cinema, he has also served on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 1995.

Beyond Mr. Waters’ success as a filmmaker, he is also an author, photographer, sculptor, stand-up comedian, and actor. Mr. Waters has published seven books, and his books Role Models (2010) and Carsick (2014) have earned spots on both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times bestseller lists. Mr. Waters’ photography is represented by the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and Sprüth Magers Gallery in Berlin and London, and his work has been exhibited worldwide. Mr. Waters also performs at festivals, colleges, museums, and comedy clubs around the world, delivering his one man spoken-word lecture entitled “This Filthy World” and his annual show “A John Waters Christmas.”


A graduate of the London School of Economics and of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Dennis Lim is now the Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, where he serves on the selection committees for the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. Mr. Lim’s extensive curatorial projects have ranged from full career retrospectives to spotlights on young and emerging filmmakers. He has organized numerous programs on French cinema including the annual “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema” since 2014, as well as retrospectives of Bertrand Bonello, Alain Guiraudie, Jacques Rivette, and Agnès Varda. 

Prior to working at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Mr. Lim worked as a journalist and cultural critic, contributing to publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Artforum, and The Village Voice, where he also served as Senior Film Editor. He has served on numerous film juries and nominating committees around the world, including for the Cannes Critics’ Week, and he is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the International Federation of Film Critics. He has also taught and lectured at Harvard University, New York University, and the New School. In addition to his curatorial film work, Mr. Lim is also an author who most recently published David Lynch: The Man from Another Place (2015) which received critical acclaim in multiple publications and has been translated into three languages.

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is given out three times annually under the jurisdiction of the minister of Culture and Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnership between French and American artists, institutions, and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop, Albertine, it fosters French American exchange around literature and the arts.


Media Contact: Camille Desprez, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, camille.desprez@diplomatie.gouv.fr, +1.212.439.1417