Co-founders and co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics to receive France’s highest decoration.

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, co-founders and co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics, are to be awarded the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour at a ceremony on Sept 22 in New York.

Over the past 30 years, Barker and Bernard have grown Sony Pictures Classics to become the number one French film distributor in the US and the honour will recognise their longstanding commitment to promoting French directors including François Truffaut, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Bertrand Blier, Louis Malle and Eric Rohmer.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, will bestow the honours on the duo for encouraging French cinema and cultural diplomacy in the US.

In a statement, Fabius lauded Barker and Bernard for “transporting the essence of France to screens across America… breaking down the barriers of national borders and creating bridges between intellectual and cultural spheres while also enriching a trans-continental cultural dialogue.”

 The Legion of Honour was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to reward exceptional accomplishments and great services rendered to France. It is awarded based on a decision by the French President.