Gotham Awards to honor Van Sant

IFP event also honoring Penelope Cruz

Helmer Gus Van Sant will receive a tribute at the IFP’s 18th annual Gotham Awards.

The IFP will fete the indie film stalwart alongside previously announced honoree Penelope Cruz on Dec. 2 at the Wall Street Cipriani. Van Sant’s latest, “Milk,” a biopic of slain San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, a pioneering openly gay politico, unspools Nov. 26.

“Gus is that rare director who has achieved a steady balance between his independent roots and mainstream filmmaking,” said IFP exec director Michelle Byrd.

In honor of Van Sant, IFP has also announced an initiative to encourage young lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual filmmakers. In cooperation with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which houses New York’s Harvey Milk High School, IFP will donate 24 video cameras to the school and plans to announce training and mentoring sessions with partner org NewFest. Young filmmakers from HMI and Harvey Milk High will be invited to screen their work at the Gotham-based LGBT-themed festival, which runs June 4-14. Harvey Milk High students and administrators will also take part in a Q&A at the MoMA Intl. Festival of Film Preservation on Nov. 6, when Oscar-winning doc “The Life and Times of Harvey Milk” will be screened.

IFP will unspool Van Sant’s “Milk” at MoMA on Dec. 3; Focus Features opens the film in limited release on Nov. 26 before a planned expansion.