Glenn Close to Receive Sundance Institute Vanguard Leadership Award

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Los Angeles, CA — Glenn Close will be honored at the Sundance Institute Celebration benefit on June 4, 2014 in New York for her distinguished career in entertainment and continuing advocacy of, and participation in, independent films. The Sundance Institute Vanguard Leadership Award will be presented to her by her longtime friend Jeremy Irons, with whom she has worked in film and on stage, in projects including The Real Thing, Reversal of Fortune and House of the Spirits. Also at the event filmmaker Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) will receive the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award, presented by The Lincoln Motor Company.

The benefit will support the Institute’s programs for independent film and theatre artists and is chaired by Trustees Jeanne Donovan Fisher and Pat Mitchell. The Host Committee includes: Michael Barker; Tom Bernard; Maria Cuomo Cole and Kenneth Cole; Sally Field; Agnes Gund; Ruth Ann and Bill Harnisch; Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn; Joan and George Hornig; Nancy and Andrew Jarecki; Karen Lauder; Kate Lear; Lyn Davis Lear and Norman Lear; Maggie Lear; Rebecca Lichtenfeld; Lori and Janusz Ordover; Abbe Raven; Shari Sant Plummer; Nadine Schiff-Rosen and Fred Rosen; Elena and Geoffrey Sands; Regina Kulik Scully and John Scully; Sheila and Wally Weisman; and Jacki and Gregory Zehner.

Institute Trustees and event co-chairs Jeanne Donovan Fisher and Pat Mitchell said, “The Sundance Institute Vanguard Awards recognize those who are finding new and exciting ways to advance the independent film community. Both Glenn’s and Damien’s impressive accomplishments show that independent film is as vital, relevant, forward-looking and impactful as ever before.”

Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner and six-time Academy Award acting nominee Glenn Close will be the third recipient of the Vanguard Leadership Award, joining philanthropist and former Institute Trustee George Gund and journalist and film critic Roger Ebert. Close has had a distinguished career in film, with prominent roles in The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons,among others. Close produced, co-wrote the screenplay for, and composed the title song lyrics for 2012’s feature film Albert Nobbs, in which she also played the lead role. That performance earned her an Academy Award nomination. Also that year, Close headlined the fifth and final season of the critically acclaimed original legal thriller, Damages. She is an Emeritus Trustee of the Institute and has served as a Creative Advisor at its Labs for emerging independent filmmakers. She has appeared in several films at the Sundance Film Festival, including Cookie’s Fortune, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, Heights, The Chumscrubber and Nine Lives. Close has completed filming on four upcoming features: Low Down, for director Jeff Preiss, co-starring John Hawkes and Elle Fanning; 5 to 7, with Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe and Frank Langella for writer-director Victor Levin; Anesthesia for writer-director Tim Blake Nelson; and the feature film of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy. She is currently filming The Great Gilly Hopkins with Kathy Bates, Danny Glover and Sophie Nelisse.

Damien Chazelle wrote and directed the feature film Whiplash, starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. For the film, Damien received a development grant and dedicated screenwriter mentors from the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. Whiplash made its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic Presented by Acura and was acquired for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. His short version of the film won a Short Film Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival the prior year. He directed his first feature film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, while an undergraduate at Harvard University, and it was named one of 2009’s best films by The New York Times, Village Voice, Film Comment and several other publications after its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Vanguard Award, presented by The Lincoln Motor Company as part of its “Reimagine Project,” comes with a cash grant and mentorship from industry professionals and Sundance Institute Feature Film Program staff. Chazelle will be the third recipient of the Vanguard Award, joining Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), whose films also received critical acclaim and accolades worldwide. The Vanguard Awards were founded in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Feature Film Program and its founding director, Michelle Satter.

Sundance Institute relies on the generosity of supporters who share a commitment to nurturing new artists, supporting unique and diverse creative voices, and furthering the reach of independent feature and documentary films around the world. The benefit will raise crucial funds to offset the non-profit Institute’s year-round programs for artists, including Labs, grants and the Sundance Film Festival.

For information on event tickets and tables or sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact The benefit is supported by The Lincoln Motor Company.

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to connect audiences to their work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling as art and as a compelling and powerful way to inform, inspire and unite people. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

The Lincoln Motor Company
The Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match. Lincoln is in the process of introducing four all-new vehicles through 2016. For more information about Lincoln, please visit or Follow us on Facebook at

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