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Director Lulu Wang attends the World Premiere of The Farewell
Director Lulu Wang attends the World Premiere of The Farewell by Lulu Wang, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. © 2019 Sundance Institute | photo by Jemal Countess.

Sundance Institute, will present The Farewell director Lulu Wang, an alumna of Institute’s 2017 FilmTwo Initiative, with its Vanguard Award. The Institute will also present a special premiere benefit screening of her film The Farewell and afterparty at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

The Farewell, which had its world premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, is a funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, in which Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai (grandma), has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. The film, starring Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang and Yongbo, was produced by Daniele Melia, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng, Lulu Wang, and Anita Gou, and will be released in theatres by A24 on July 12, 2019.


“We’re excited to celebrate the power of Lulu’s artistic vision in writing and directing The Farewell,” said Michelle Satter, Founding Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. “As a Fellow at our 2017 FilmTwo Initiative for second-time feature filmmakers, we had the honor of supporting Lulu’s journey on this deeply personal film which engaged enthusiastic audiences at the recent Sundance Festival. We’re thrilled to benchmark her journey with this year’s Vanguard Award, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award honors artists whose work and vision represent the highest level of breakthrough innovation, originality, and independent spirit that the Institute’s FFP program under Satter’s leadership has fostered in artists over its 30-year history. Past Vanguard Award recipients include Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñàrritu, Ryan Coogler, Glenn Close, Dee Rees, Quentin Tarantino, Marielle Heller and Boots Riley.

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