Sundance Institute Presents: The Farewell LA Premiere Hosted by Acura

For our 2019 summer benefit, the LA independent film community came together to celebrate Lulu Wang and her film The Farewell, a hilarious, heartwarming story “based on an actual lie.” During the evening, we honored Wang with the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award presented by Acura, hosted an exclusive screening of the film, and celebrated with a Sundance-style after-party—all at downtown LA’s gorgeous Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, we were able to raise $165,000, which will help fund grants, mentorships, and other critical resources to empower the next generation of artists.

For more information about events like this, please contact events@sundance.org. We hope to see you next summer! Until then, catch highlights from 2019 in our photo gallery.

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About the Film

The Farewell


Chucks sentimentality and melodramatics out the window. It’s funny, bittersweet and full of unexpected left turns.

—Rolling Stone

In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai Nai (grandma), has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.

With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.

Writer/director: Lulu Wang
Principle cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo
Language: English and Mandarin with English subtitles
Rated: PG

What the Critics Are Saying:

Touching and understated, and deftly balanced, veering from serene, observational moments to unexpected bursts of disarming humor.

—Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Sincere, and a triumph, inviting audiences to identify with the universal elements in this unusual story of grieving and loss.

—Peter Debruge, Variety

A touching, tender, and hilarious portrait of love based on an actual lie.

—Ethan Anderton, Slash Film

About Lulu Wang

Honoree—Sundance Institute Vanguard Award Presented by Acura


Lulu Wang

Born in Beijing, raised in Miami, and educated in Boston, Wang is a classical pianist turned filmmaker who was a 2014 Chaz and Roger Ebert fellow, a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve fellow, a 2017 Sundance Institute FilmTwo Initiative fellow, and one of Variety’s “10 directors to watch” before premiering The Farewell to rave reviews at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Join us as we recognize her success and celebrate her vision, originality, and spirit as an indie filmmaker to watch.


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