Photo Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
Two-time Academy Award® winner Sean Penn has become an American film icon in a career spanning over four decades. He has amassed a filmography of over 100 films as an actor, director, writer and/or producer. He is a five-time Academy Award® nominee for Best Actor for his unforgettable performances in Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, and I Am Sam, ultimately winning two Oscars for his work in Mystic River and Milk. As a filmmaker, his directorial achievements include The Pledge, The Crossing Guard, his debut The Indian Runner, and the Academy Award-nominated Into the Wild, an adaptation of the best-selling non-fiction book, for which he received Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America nominations. For television, he currently stars in the acclaimed Hulu original series The First from creator Beau Willimon.
As a journalist, Sean Penn’s work has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, Time, Rolling Stone, and The Huffington Post. Penn is a vocal advocate for human and civil rights, and in 2002 penned a prescient open letter, which he published in The Washington Post and The New York Times, to President George W. Bush against the planned invasion of Iraq. In subsequent years, Penn wrote a two-part feature in The San Francisco Chronicle after visiting war-torn Iraq, as well as a five-part feature reporting from Iran during the 2005 election that led to the Ahmadinejad regime. He landed landmark interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, and Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.
Amid his remarkable career, Penn has devoted much of his time to humanitarian and philanthropic work, including in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. In 2010, Sean notably established and today continues to lead the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, dedicated to rebuilding infrastructure and quality of life for the Haitian people in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010. In 2013, he played a vital role in getting wrongfully imprisoned American entrepreneur Jacob Ostreicher released from a Bolivian prison; and for his efforts was honored by the Aleph Institute in 2015. Penn has received numerous honors including being named Ambassador at Large for Haiti in 2012 and presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. At the COP21 Climate Conference in December 2015, Penn partnered with a global coalition including Ségolène Royal, French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, to launch “Haiti Takes Root,” an initiative which is committed to reforest Haiti over the next 10 years.