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Pat Mitchell to Receive Vanguard Award for Philanthropy at Sundance Film Festival


Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years Presented by Chase Sapphire®



Photo credit: Sundance Film Festival



November 16, 2023, Park City, UT — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today revealed an additional honoree of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s fundraiser, Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years Presented by Chase Sapphire®, which will take place on January 18, 2024, at the DeJoria Center in Utah. The gala, which kicks off the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, celebrates individuals who have made notable contributions to the storytelling landscape. This year, former Sundance Institute Board Chair and trustee Pat Mitchell will receive the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy, recognizing her exemplary commitment to the Institute’s support and to philanthropy for social impact.



As previously announced, the Opening Night Gala will also recognize Christopher Nolan, who will be honored with the inaugural Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award. Celine Song and Maite Alberdi — who premiered their films Past Lives and The Eternal Memory, respectively, at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival — will each receive the annual Vanguard Award Presented by Acura.



The annual Opening Night Gala enables the nonprofit to raise critical funds to support independent artists year-round through labs, grants, and public programming that nurture artists globally. The 2024 event is made possible with the generous support of Chase Sapphire and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The upcoming Sundance Film Festival will take place January 18–28, 2024, in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as online from January 25–28.



"It is with immense excitement that we will honorPat Mitchell at our Opening Night Gala," said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. "Beyond being a stalwart champion of the role of media and storytelling as an agent for social change, Pat is a fierce advocate for gender and racial equality, and in all her diverse roles and responsibilities — as a journalist, documentary producer, and media executive — has supported the stories and ideas that move us forward toward a more equitable future. Pat’s career and commitments of her time and resources epitomize what it means to be a leader for positive change. I am honored to celebrate Pat and the boundless value of independent storytelling as we near the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival."



The Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award for Philanthropy honors innovation, originality, and independent spirit as demonstrated through an exemplary commitment to philanthropy and social impact. Pat Mitchell, this year’s honoree, has exhibited a steadfast, decadeslong commitment to the Sundance Institute’s mission, the issues of women and girls, and global climate change.



"Sundance is so much more than a film festival. It’s a mission to discover and to support the stories and ideas that open hearts and minds, that challenge and expand our boundaries, and that connect us as a community of storytellers and change-makers," said Pat Mitchell. "It’s been a privilege to support and serve that mission, to share the learning journey that is core to all that Sundance is and will continue to be."



Throughout Pat Mitchell’s career as an award-winning journalist and producer, her projects have received 34 Emmys, five Peabodys, and two Academy Award nominations, and as a media executive she was the first woman president of CNN Productions and PBS. She broke new ground for women and elevated the role of media for social change. Mitchell is a co-founder, host, and curator for TEDWomen, co-founder and managing partner of ConnectedWomenLeaders, and she sits on the boards of The Skoll Foundation and Participant Media. She is chair emeritus of the Women’s Media Center, which named a Lifetime Achievement Award in her honor, and she has been a Sundance trustee since 1995, serving as chair of the board for more than a decade. Mitchell is the author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the Worldand is currently leading a global campaign for climate justice titled Project Dandelion.



For more information about tables and tickets, please visit festival.sundance.org/opening-night-gala or contact openingnight@sundance.org.

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