Ryan Coogler To Be Honored With Sundance Institute Variety Visionary Award During Inaugural Opening Night Event

Others, including W. Kamau Bell, will also be recognized with awards.

Sundance Institute is announcing the inaugural edition of their new Opening Night: A Taste of Sundance, where Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler will be honored.

According to a press release, the event will take place on January 19, 2023, in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival, kicking off the annual event by honoring breakout storytellers “whose journeys have been connected to Sundance throughout the years while raising funds and awareness for the institute.”

Those funds, the non-profit organization says, will support uplifting voices though artist programs, granting and other initiatives.

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Coogler will receive the first annual Sundance Institute | Variety Visionary Award, which recognizes “a notable Sundance Institute alumni who is deeply connected to the organization and its programs, and has proceeded to establish an extraordinary career that personifies a unique perspective embodying a commitment to impactful storytelling,” according to the release.

“Ten years ago, I was filled with an immense sense of gratitude when I was selected by Michelle Satter and her staff for the Screenwriting Lab of 2012,” Coogler said via the release. “My experience there provided me with momentum that has propelled me forward through a decade of professional work. It is with an even deeper sense of gratitude that I accept this honor. The Institute has been a constant source of support, resources, and access to so many incredible filmmakers, and I pray that it will continue to thrive for the sake of us who know the depths of its effects personally and for the fledgling storytellers that the Institute is destined to support in the future.”

The annual Vanguard Awards will also be given out during the evening. W. Kamau Bell, director of We Need to Talk About Cosby, will be presented with the Vanguard Award for nonfiction while the Vanguard Award for fiction will go to Nikyatu Jusu, director of Nanny.

“Kicking off the 2023 edition of the Festival with this new celebration is a great opportunity to champion the storytellers we support and contribute to sustaining Sundance Institute grants, mentorships, and other critical resources that enable artists to bring their stories to life," Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO, said via the release. "We look forward to gathering together again in Park City to shine a light on the vision, originality, and independent spirit of artists whose careers we have supported. The opportunity to recognize Ryan with the Visionary Award and his contributions to the industry and Institute for over a decade is a special moment for us. We are equally honored to be able to present both Nikyatu and Kamau with the Vanguard Awards.”

For more information about the inaugural opening night event, including how to attend, click here.

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