Director Ryan Coogler (‘Fruitvale Station’) to be Honored with Vanguard Award at ‘Celebrate Sundance Institute’ Benefit

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*Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute announced filmmaker Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) will be honored with the Vanguard Award, presented by Tiffany & Co.

Actress Kerry Washington will present the award to Coogler at the third annual ‘Celebrate Sundance Institute’ benefit on June 5, 2013 in Los Angeles. As previously announced, the benefit will also honor the life and work of beloved journalist and film critic Roger Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award in Memoriam, in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema. The award will be presented by Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford and accepted by Ebert’s wife, Chaz Ebert.

The benefit is chaired by Institute Trustee Lyn Lear and her husband, Norman, and Institute Trustee Cindy Horn, and her husband, Alan. The Host Committee includes: Robert J. Abernethy; Wallis Annenberg; The Honorable Nicole Avant and Ted Sarandos; Sean and Charmaine Bailey; Chris and Jenny Brearton; Susanna Felleman and Erik Feig; Mark Gordon and Sally Whitehill; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Miranda and Bruno Heller; David and Suzanne Johnson; Chris Kelly and Jennifer Carrico; Christine Lahti; Ross and Nicole Levinsohn; Heather Rae; Marshall and Sharon Rogers-McKay; Nadine and Fredric Rosen; Thomas E. Rothman; Carolyn Strauss; Sheila and Wally Weisman; and Jamie Wolf.

Director Ryan Coogler’s first feature film, Fruitvale Station, 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. Fruitvale Station will screen in the “Un Certain Regard” section at Cannes this month and will be released by The Weinstein Company 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. Coogler will be the second recipient of the Vanguard Award. The first was presented last year to Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, whose film went on to receive critical acclaim and accolades worldwide. 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.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Ryan Coogler makes an extraordinary directorial debut with Fruitvale Station, in which he tells a heartbreaking story with courage and conviction. His talent and promise make him a fitting recipient of our Vanguard Award, and we look with great anticipation to the release of his film this summer as well as his future work in years to come.”

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 like Hoop Dreams, Man Push Cart, Come Early Morning, Longtime Companion, Metropolitan, The Brothers McMullen, Crumb, Picture Bride, American Movie, and The War Zone. Sundance alumni who count him as an advocate include Steve James, Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Steven …read more  

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