Kevin Costner Moved to Tears by 10-Minute Standing Ovation for Passion Project “Horizon” in Cannes: 'I’ll Never Forget This'

Costner co-wrote, directed and stars in 'Horizon: An American Saga,' a four-part period drama about the settlement of the American West

<p>Gareth Cattermole/Getty</p> Kevin Costner at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2024

Gareth Cattermole/Getty

Kevin Costner at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2024

Kevin Costner just received quite a standing ovation for his first directing effort in 11 years.

The 69-year-old actor became emotional after his new film, Horizon: An American Saga, received a 10-minute standing ovation following its premiere at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, May 19.

After the enthusiastic response to the four-part period drama, the actor-director dabbed away a tear before giving a memorable speech — and revealing he would "never forget" his experience at the French festival.

Related: Kevin Costner Has a Tense Standoff in Sweeping New Trailer for Horizon: An American Saga

Addressing the Cannes crowd, Costner joked, "I'm sorry you had to clap that long for me to understand that I should speak."

<p>Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty</p> Kevin Costner (middle) with the cast of 'Horizon: An American Saga' on the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2024

Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty

Kevin Costner (middle) with the cast of 'Horizon: An American Saga' on the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2024

"Such good people," he continued. "Such a good moment, not just for me, but for the actors who came with me, for people who believed in me, who continued to work."

"It's a funny business, and I'm so glad I found it," he said, adding, "There's no place like here."

The Yellowstone star also shared that his experience in Cannes was made extra-special by not only the audience's response and how passionate he is about Horizon, but also by his kids, who stood by his side at the festival.

Related: Kevin Costner Debuts Wild West-Approved Mustache at Cannes (John Dutton Is Shaking)

Before he and his Horizon castmates' standing ovation, the star was already beaming as he posed on the red carpet with the support of five of his seven kids: Annie, 40, Cayden, 17, Grace, 13, Lily, 37, and Hayes, 15 — who stars in Horizon alongside his dad.

"I'll never forget this," the star told the audience, whose front row included his kids. "Neither with my children. They all look so beautiful, dressed up so nice, the women, the men. They're so handsome."

<p>CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty</p> Kevin Costner poses with his kids Cayden Wyatt Costner, Lily Costner, Grace Avery Costner, Hayes Costner and Annie Costner at Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2024


Kevin Costner poses with his kids Cayden Wyatt Costner, Lily Costner, Grace Avery Costner, Hayes Costner and Annie Costner at Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2024

Then, circling back to his passion project, he said: "I made this. It's not mine anymore. It's yours. I knew that the minute this was over and that's what it should be. I think movies aren't about their opening weekends. They're about their life and about how many times you're willing to share it."

"And I hope that you do share this movie with your sweethearts, with your children. I feel so lucky. I feel so blessed — and there's three more," he said, as the audience cheered once more.

"There was no reason that this was gonna happen, and it's just another miracle in my life," he added, becoming choked up. "Thank you so much for giving me your precious time. I hope that this time was worth it for you. Thank you."

Related: Kevin Costner's Next Movie: Everything to Know About Horizon: An American Saga

Making its debut at the annual film event in France, Horizon not only stars but was also co-written and helmed by Costner, marking the Oscar winner's return to feature film directing since 2003's Open Range. (His last starring film role, meanwhile, was opposite Diane Lane in 2020's Let Him Go, while he also led TV's Yellowstone for five seasons, from 2018 to 2023.)

Set to be released in theaters as Chapter One and Chapter Two over the summer, the film is described as "a multifaceted chronicle covering the Civil War expansion and settlement of the American West," according to synopsis from the film's distributor Warner Bros. Pictures.

"In the great tradition of Warner Bros. Pictures’ iconic Westerns, Horizon: An American Saga explores the lure of the Old West and how it was won — and lost — through the blood, sweat and tears of many," the studio added. "Spanning the four years of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, Costner’s ambitious cinematic adventure will take audiences on an emotional journey across a country at war with itself, experienced through the lens of families, friends and foes all attempting to discover what it truly means to be the United States of America."

<p>Warner Bros. Pictures</p> Horizon: An American Saga

Warner Bros. Pictures

Horizon: An American Saga

In addition to Costner, the film's massive ensemble includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Ella Hunt, Danny Huston, Tom Payne, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Will Patton, Douglas Smith, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jamie Campbell Bower, Michael Anganaro, Jeff Fahey, Tom Everett and Giovanni Ribisi.

The cast is also rounded out by Tatanka Means, Tim Guinee, Colin Cunningham, Scott Haze, Georgia MacPhail, Alejandro Edda, Wasé Winyan Chief, Angus Macfadyen, Jon Beavers, Alex Nibley, Kathleen Quinlan, Etienne Kellici, Amos Jason Charging Cloud, Bodhi Okuma Linton, Gregory Cruz, James Russo, David O’Hara, Chris Conner, Leroy M. Silva, Bernardo Velasco and Glynn Turman.

Comparing the Western saga to 1990's Dances with Wolves, which won Costner two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, Warner Bros. Pictures president Jeff Goldstein said in a statement, "We believe Kevin only scratched the surface of that period, and we are thrilled to see him present an even deeper, more expansive view with these powerhouse stories."

Related: Kevin Costner Reveals 13-Year-Old Son Hayes Will Appear in His Epic Western 'Horizon' : 'He's Really Good'

As for Costner, he explained to PEOPLE in November 2022 why the upcoming film is especially important to him. "Horizon is incredibly meaningful to me. It's really been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's exactly what I want to do," he said.

The actor-director added, "I wrapped this first one, and it took everything I had, but I'm holding on to the rope and not letting go. In my career I've tried to choose not based on what was popular. I made the films I wanted to make."

And when it comes to his longtime interest in making movies about the Wild West — and that particular time in American history — Costner said, "A lot of times we measure ourselves against other generations. I think about what was at stake. How did people survive? There's a rawness and an unpredictability about it. I'm haunted by that."

<p>Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube</p> Kevin Costner in 'Horizon: An American Saga'

Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

Kevin Costner in 'Horizon: An American Saga'

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Like the Cannes red carpet, the movie was also a family affair for Costner, who opened up to PEOPLE about his son Hayes appearing onscreen. "He's very good," the proud father said. "Hayes plays the namesake character that I actually play in the movie. He's 13 years old and the screenplay's been around longer than that."

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Costner — who is also a father to son Cayden and daughter Grace with ex-wife Christine Baumgartner, and has daughters Annie and Lily, and sons Joe and Liam from previous relationships — said casting Hayes was an excuse for the two to spend more time together.

"I kind of did it on purpose, so he could be hanging out with me," Costner said. "And the same thing for Cayden, same thing for Grace. I'm like any other parent, I'm trying to figure out, like, 'This is really neat. You should come be with me.' "

Horizon: An American Saga Chapter One and Chapter Two will be released in theaters on June 28 and Aug. 16, respectively.

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