The Sundance Institute will honor the legendary and the up-and-coming June 5 when it pays tribute to late film critic Roger Ebert and director Ryan Coogler at its third-annual Celebrate Sundance Institute benefit at the Lot in West Hollywood.
Sundance president and founder Robert Redford will reciprocate frequent Sundance attendee Ebert’s longtime appreciation of independent films by bestowing his widow, Chaz Ebert, with the Vanguard Leadership Award in memoriam.
During the ceremony, frequent Sundance film actress Kerry Washington will honor writer and director Ryan Coogler with the Vanguard Award, presented by Tiffany & Co. Coogler’s Sundance-lauded film “Fruitvale Station” is based on the story of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old who was killed by a police office on New Year’s Day 2009.
“Ryan Coogler makes an extraordinary directorial debut with ‘Fruitvale Station,’ in which he tells a heartbreaking story with courage and conviction,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “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.”
Coogler is the second recipient of the prize, which includes a cash grant and mentorship from industry professionals. Last year, it went to fellow Sundance breakout Benh Zeitlin, who directed the Oscar-nominated “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”