in ,

Sundance Vanguard Award to Honor Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Siân Heder

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today that it will present the 2021 Vanguard Award to filmmaker Siân Heder for her work on her feature film CODA, and filmmaker Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson for his work in documentary filmmaking on his directorial debut Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).

Presented by Acura, the Vanguard Award annually honors artists whose work highlights the art of storytelling and creative independence. This year the award has expanded to honor the work of both a fiction and a nonfiction storyteller. The free online celebration will take place Wednesday, October 20, 2021, and feature dynamic conversations with Siân and Ahmir. The Institute invites fans and supporters of independent cinema to celebrate these artists at the special event.

Heder, who will be one of two individuals presented with the award, directed the indie-drama film CODA. At the Sundance Film Festival, the film won the Audience, Directing, Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast, and the U.S. Grand Jury Prizes.

Thompson, who will also be receiving the award, directed Summer of Soul which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary category, winning the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary and the U.S. Grand Jury Documentary prizes.

“I’m so grateful to Sundance for the incredible support that they have given to me on my journey as a filmmaker. I am thrilled and honored to join the company of the artists who have previously received this award, as well as my co-honoree, Ahmir, and his brilliant film,” said Siân Heder.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award. Storytelling has always been the fiber of my creativity, be it DJing, writing articles/books, podcasting, or teaching. Of course, I share this honor with the entire team behind Summer Of Soul. It was an honor to bring this historic event to light for audiences to experience,” said Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Written by Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and has been writing about film for several years across various different publications. Ever since the age of nine, film and the art of filmmaking have been his number one passion. When hes

Interview: Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander Discusses the Appeal of ‘Blue Bayou’ and Still Having Fun

Hosts And Presenters For The 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards Have Been Announced