Every year, Sundance Institute bestows the Vanguard Award upon an artist who embodies the innovation, originality, and independent spirit upon which the Institute was founded in 1981.

This year, we invite you to be part of the celebration when visionary Radha Blank, the writer-director-actor of the award-winning film THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION, will join such esteemed past honorees as Ryan Coogler, Marielle Heller, and Boots Riley as the recipient of the 2020 Vanguard Award presented by Acura.

Join us as last year’s Vanguard honoree, award-winning writer/director Lulu Wang (THE FAREWELL), and Radha engage in a candid conversation where they'll reflect on their creative journey and insights gleaned along the way. The celebration concludes with the presentation of the award, including an appearance by Octavia Spencer, one of Radha's creative advisors at the Sundance Institute's Directors Lab.

The Forty-Year-Old Version is available to stream on Netflix.  

“A very sharp, funny and poignant comedy.” — Los Angeles Times

"Incisive and Vibrant." — The New Yorker

"This is the rarest of films: Funny, Wry, Incisive, Sexy and Sincere." — Chicago Tribune

"A Beautiful Achievement." — The Hollywood Reporter  

We look forward to welcoming you to our celebration on December 2. 

Radha Blank is a proud Native New Yorker, Performer and Writer for TV, stage and film. Her plays include HappyFlowerNail, Casket Sharp, nannyland and the critically acclaimed SEED which The Huffington Post called "fresh, lively...and poetic". She's a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award recipient, an NEA New Play Development Award recipient (for SEED) and a NYFA Fellow. Radha's TV writing work include The Get Down (Netflix), Empire (FOX) and She's Gotta Have It (Netflix), where she's worked as Producer/Writer for two seasons. She co-wrote the screen adaptation of Walter Dean Myers best-selling novel Monster. Radha was a fellow for both the 2017 Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Labs with her original screenplay The 40-Year-Old Version (FYOV), which won The 2017 Adrienne Shelly Women's Filmmaker Award and The 2018 Maryland Film Festival Producers Club Award. When not writing for the stage or screen, Radha performs as emcee RadhaMUSprime, whose brand of Hip Hop Comedy, has sold out shows from NY to Norway. She is currently writing the feature film script for Malcolm Lee's latest Universal Pictures comedy "Real Talk". This year, Radha will write, direct and star in her first feature film, The 40-Year-Old Version (F.Y.O.V.) more...
Lulu Wang is a classical pianist turned filmmaker. She is currently in post on her second feature THE FAREWELL, starring Awkwafina, which will premiere at Sundance 2019 in U.S. Dramatic Competition. She was listed by Variety as Ten Directors To Watch in 2019. more...
One of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Spencer has become a familiar fixture in both television and the silver screen. Her performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film THE HELP won her the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award among numerous other accolades. Spencer recently starred in Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning fantasy drama, THE SHAPE OF WATER alongside Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins. Previous film credits include INSTANT FAMILY, A KID LIKE JAKE, HIDDEN FIGURES, ZOOTOPIA, and FRUITVALE STATION. more...
Thirty-one years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) Daughters of the Dust. She became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust and her UCLA MFA senior thesis Illusions in the National Film Registry. These two films join a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures by the Librarian of Congress. Dash recently designed two rooms for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and VOGUE, In American: An Anthology of Fashion, featured at the NYC Met Gala 2022. more...

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