Cinequest 2019: Elle Fanning To Receive Maverick Spirit Award

Though she debuted at age 3 playing a younger version of her sister, Elle Fanning quickly made her own name. She earned her first role away from Dakota by appearing in the ensemble of Daddy Day Care, but began standing out in dramas. By the age of 10 she had already costarred with actors like Jeff Bridges, Brad Pitt, and Cate Blanchett, even once playing the young Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It’s no wonder that Fanning commented, “I can’t really remember my life without movies.”

For a generation, she is a touchstone actress, drawn to roles that push boundaries and display a glowing resilience. Some have been in edgy experimental films like The Neon Demon, some have been simple human stories like 20th Century Women. All Fanning’s characters have felt real, even when playing aliens or Princess Aurora in Disney’s Maleficent and its upcoming sequel.

She has gone from Disney Princess to transgendered male in the sensitive drama 3 Generations, striving to make films with impact. To do so, she has worked with some of the best directors in film, including several collaborations with Sofia Coppola and Sally Potter.

No one genre defines her – she moves from naturalistic drama to comedy, from realism to science fiction, and often her films blur the lines. Her career proves that lines don’t matter. Character, intensity, and energy do. Her view on what draws her to a character is perhaps simple; she has observed that she just likes playing characters with as many emotions as possible.

Fanning brings life to every film she does, and through film she has been able to fulfill her dreams. Though she has often said she likes acting, she’d harbored the dream to be a ballerina. That came true with The Nutcracker, and of course, she’s been friends with her neighbor Totoro. Last year, Fanning played one of the most famous women to make her own dreams come to life as Mary Shelley. And Fanning’s aspiration to be in a musical finally came true with Teen Spirit, playing at this year’s Cinequest.

Her inquisitive spirit keeps her exploring, both as characters and in life. Yet acting keeps drawing her in, because, as she puts it, “you can create or imagine anything.”

Cinequest is honored to have Elle Fanning join us this year, to help us celebrate creativity, imagination, and always, always reaching for your dreams.

A Conversation with Elle Fanning and Maverick Spirit Award presentation will occur with the screening of her exciting new film TEEN SPIRIT this Sunday, March 17, 1:00p.m., California Theatre. Please purchase tickets to TEEN SPIRIT for this event that includes screening and conversation. All Access, Maverick, and Film Lover Passes accepted for entrance as well.

About Derek McCaw 1948 Articles
In addition to running Fanboy Planet, Derek has written for ActionAce, Daily Radar, Once Upon A Dime, and The Wave. He has contributed stories to Arcana Comics (The Greatest American Hero) and Monsterverse Comics (Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave). He performs with ComedySportz San Jose and ShakesBEERience, in addition to occasional screenwriting and acting jobs. If you ever played Eric's Ultimate Solitaire on the Macintosh, it was Derek's voice as The Weasel that urged you to play longer. You can buy his book "I Was Flesh Gordon" on the Amazon link at the right. Email him at