Pat Mitchell to Receive Vanguard Award for Philanthropy at Sundance Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala

Celebrating 40 Years
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Pat Mitchell to Receive Vanguard Award for Philanthropy at Sundance Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala

The nonprofit Sundance Institute today revealed an additional honoree of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s fundraiser, Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years, which will take place on January 18, 2024, at the DeJoria Center in Utah. 

Pat Mitchell, a former Sundance Institute Board Chair and trustee, will be presented with the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy this year in recognition of her extraordinary dedication to philanthropy for the cause of social impact and to the support of the Sundance Institute.

As previously announced, Christopher Nolan will receive the inaugural Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award on the evening of the Opening Night Gala. Celine Song and Maite Alberdi, whose films Past Lives and The Eternal Memory, respectively, made their world premieres at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, will each be presented with the annual Vanguard Award Presented by Acura.

The nonprofit organization is able to gather essential funds every year through the annual Opening Night Gala. These funds are used to support independent artists year-round through laboratories, grants, and public programming that nurtures artists globally. By the generous sponsorship of Chase Sapphire as well as the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the 2024 event has been made possible. The upcoming Sundance Film Festival will be held in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, from January 18–28, 2024, as well as online from January 25–28.

"It is with immense excitement that we will honor Pat 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 Vanguard Award for Philanthropy from the Sundance Institute honors creativity, independence, and inventiveness as demonstrated by model dedication to charity and social impact. The recipient of this year's honor, Pat Mitchell, has demonstrated a steady, long-standing dedication to the mission of the Sundance Institute, the issues of women's 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."

In addition to her work as an award-winning journalist and producer, Pat Mitchell has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Peabody Awards, and 34 Emmy Awards. In her capacity as a media executive, she was the first female president of PBS and CNN Productions. 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 as well as a co-founder and managing partner of ConnectedWomenLeaders. She also sits on the boards of Participant Media and The Skoll Foundation. She is the former chair emeritus of the Women's Media Center, which named a Lifetime Achievement Award in her honor. She has also been a trustee of Sundance since 1995, having chaired the board for over ten years. Author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World, Mitchell is currently leading Project Dandelion, a global campaign for climate justice.

For more information about tables and tickets, please visit festival.sundance.org/opening-night-gala or contact [email protected].