At the event, Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford will also present the Vanguard Leadership Award in Memoriam to beloved journalist and film critic Roger Ebert, in recognition of his lifetime advocacy of independent cinema. The award will be accepted by Ebert’s wife, Chaz Ebert. “Roger Ebert was one of the great champions of freedom of artistic
expression," said Redford. "When the power of independent film was still unknown and few
would support it, Roger was there for our artists. His personal passion
for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for
generations to come.”
Coogler’s first feature film, "Fruitvale Station," starring Michael B. Jordan ("The Wire") and Octavia Spencer ("The Help"), was selected for Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program Screenwriters Lab and Artist Granting Fund and went on to win both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The Weinstein Co. will release "Fruitvale Station," which will screen in the "Un Certain Regard" section at Cannes this May, in July 2013.
The Vanguard Award, presented by Tiffany & Co., comes with a cash grant and mentorship from industry professionals and Feature Film Program staff. The first Vanguard Award went last year to Benh Zeitlin, director of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which was nominated for Best Picture, director, actress and adapted screenplay. The Vanguard Awards were founded in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and its founding director, Michelle Satter.
The Sundance Institute will remember and celebrate journalist and film critic Roger Ebert by honoring him with the Vanguard Leadership Award in Memoriam, in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema. He was a frequent attendee of the Sundance Film Festival, where he discovered and supported films such as "Hoop Dreams," "Man Push Cart," "Come Early Morning," "Longtime Companion," "Metropolitan," "The Brothers McMullen," "Crumb," "Picture Bride," "American Movie," and "The War Zone." The first Vanguard Leadership Award went to philanthropist and Sundance Institute Trustee George Gund.