Roger Ebert to receive Sundance’s Vanguard Leadership Award

Sundance Institute's president and founder Robert Redford is to present film critic and journalist Roger Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award.
September 20, 2012

Sundance Institute’s president and founder Robert Redford is to present film critic and journalist Roger Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award.

Ebert, recognized for his advocacy of independent cinema, will become the second recipient of the award at a presentation on June 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, at the annual Celebrate Sundance Institute benefit.

Since 1967, Ebert has contributed to his Chicago Sun-Times film review column, which is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers across the globe. He is also known for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies.

As a frequent attendee of the Sundance Film Festival, Ebert has championed films including docs such as Crumb, Hoop Dreams and American Movie.

“Among the many things I admire about Roger Ebert is how he has long supported freedom of artistic expression,” said Robert Redford, president and founder of Sundance Institute. “When I started Sundance in 1980, and when few would support us, Roger was there.

“His influence and reach is as meaningful as his personal passion for cinema, and he certainly deserves this award.”

“Roger Ebert’s impact on film culture cannot be understated,” added Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance Institute. “For 45 years he has championed great movies from a broad range of artists and used his platform to encourage audiences to explore challenging and unexpected films, including many that premiered at our Sundance Film Festival.”

The previous and inaugural recipient was philanthropist and Sundance Institute Trustee George Gund. The Vanguard Awards were founded in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and its founding director, Michelle Satter.

This is the second recent acknowledgement of the film critic, following the news that filmmaker Steve James is set to make a doc on Ebert.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty