The Sundance Institute has announced that legendary musician Questlove will be one of two recipients of the 2021 Vanguard Award for his work on his directorial debut Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). The online ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 20 featuring an in depth conversation with Questlove.
“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,” Questlove shared in a statement. “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.”
The Vanguard Award is issued annually by the Sundance Institute to honor creative individuals who use their work to highlight the art of storytelling and creative independence. Filmmaker Siân Heder will also be honored this year for her work on the feature film CODA. Viewers can RSVP to view the celebration through the official registration portal.
“We are especially honored to recognize the visionary and award-winning directors Siân Heder and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson with the Vanguard Award. We were thrilled to bring enthusiastic audiences together at our Festival to experience the humanity, originality, and independent spirit of their culture-changing films,” said Michelle Satter, Sundance Founding Senior Director, Artist Programs. “Siân and Ahmir join Sundance-supported directors Radha Blank, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, Marielle Heller, and others in this annual celebration of singular independent storytellers.”
Summer of Soul premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary section. The film, which was directed and executive produced by Questlove, was awarded the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary presented by Acura, and the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary.
The film followed the almost lost history of the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 – also known as “the Black Woodstock” – which took place the same summer as Woodstock.