Festival chairman Harold Matzner made the announcement in Beverly Hills last night [October 14] at a reception hosted by festival board member Stephen Breimer.
'Dakota Fanning is a talented young actress who as we watch her grow up over the years, continues to show her depth and range as a performer,' Matzner said. 'We're delighted to recognise her with the festival's Rising Star Award for her impressive work in The Secret Life Of Bees.'
Fox Searchlight will release The Secret Life Of Bees this weekend. The Southern-set drama premiered at Toronto and also stars Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys.
Fanning's credits include I Am Sam, Charlotte's Web, War Of The Worlds, Dreamer, Hounddog, and Man On Fire. Upcoming releases include the sci-fi thriller Push and the animated fantasy Coraline. She was named ShoWest's Supporting Actress Of The Year in 2006.
Previous recipients of the Rising Star Award include Adam Beach, Jessica Biel, Nikki Blonsky, Emile Hirsch, Bryce Dallas Howard, Terrence Howard and Scarlett Johansson. The festival will take place from January 6-19 2009.