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

Pat Mitchell
Park City, Utah ( November 16, 2023 ) -

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 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 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 World” and is currently leading a global campaign for climate justice titled Project Dandelion.

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Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from Sundance Advisors and connect with each other in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Through the Sundance Institute artist programs, we have supported such projects as “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Big Sick,” “Bottle Rocket,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Boys State,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Clemency,” “CODA,” “Drunktown’s Finest,” “The Farewell,” “Fire of Love,” “Flee,” “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Get Out,” “Half Nelson,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Hereditary,” “Honeyland,” “The Infiltrators,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Little Woods,” “Love & Basketball,” “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” “Mudbound,” “Nanny,” “Navalny,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “One Child Nation,” “Pariah,” “Raising Victor Vargas,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “RBG,” “Sin Nombre,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “The Souvenir,” “Strong Island,” “Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” “Swiss Army Man,” “Sydney,” “A Thousand and One,” “Top of the Lake,” “Walking and Talking,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,”and “Zola.” Through year-round artist programs, the Institute also nurtured the early careers of artists such Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Gregg Araki, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Ryan Coogler, Nia DaCosta, The Daniels, David Gordon Green, Miranda July, James Mangold, John Cameron Mitchell, Kimberly Peirce, Boots Riley, Ira Sachs, Quentin Tarantino, Taika Waititi, Lulu Wang, and Chloé Zhao. Support Sundance Institute in our commitment to uplifting bold artists and powerful storytelling globally by making a donation at Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube.

The Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the nonprofit, Sundance Institute, is the pre-eminent gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives. Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the Festival have gone on to gain critical acclaim and reach new audiences worldwide. The Festival has introduced some of the most groundbreaking films and episodic works of the past three decades, including “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” “Fair Play,” “A Thousand and One,” “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” “Rye Lane,” “Navalny,” “Fire of Love,” “Flee,” “CODA,” “Passing, “Summer Of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” “Minari,” “Clemency,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” “Zola,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “On The Record,” “Boys State,” “The Farewell,” “Honeyland,” “One Child Nation,” “The Souvenir,” “The Infiltrators,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Top of the Lake,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” “Hereditary,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Get Out,” “The Big Sick,” “Mudbound,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Whiplash,” “Brooklyn,” “Precious,” “The Cove,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and “sex, lies, and videotape.” The program consists of fiction and nonfiction features and short films, series and episodic content, innovative storytelling, and performances, as well as conversations, and other events. The Festival takes place in-person in Utah, as well as online, connecting audiences to bold new artists and films. The 2024 Festival will be held January 18-28, 2024. Be a part of the Festival at Sundance Film Festival and follow the Festival at Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube.

The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. To date 2024 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Audible, DIRECTV, Omnicom Group, Ketel One Vodka, Shutterstock, United Airlines; Sustaining Sponsors – Canon U.S.A., Inc., Cotopaxi, DoorDash, Dropbox, World of Hyatt, IMDb, MACRO, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, NPR, Variety, Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year round programs for independent artists. Please visit for more.