Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee
Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee

Toronto International Film Festival announced Academy Award®–winning directors Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee are the first honorees of this year’s Tribute Awards. Almodóvar will receive the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant, and Lee will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award.

“It’s a true thrill to acknowledge Pedro Almodóvar as the distinguished recipient of the Jeff Skoll Impact Media Award for 2023,” stated Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF. “Pedro has been coming to TIFF for years, and each time is better than the time before. His artistic vision, bold storytelling, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of cinema have had a profound impact. He challenges societal norms, champions diversity, and illuminates the human experience with sensitivity and grace. We applaud his contributions to cinema and celebrate his ability to inspire and provoke audiences worldwide.”

The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema. Past recipients honoured in the prestigious category include Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2022, Alanis Obomsawin in 2021, and Mira Nair in 2020.

“The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their career,” continued Bailey. “A foremost storyteller of our era, Spike’s body of work from She’s Gotta Have It, to Do the Right Thing, to Mo’ Better Blues, to his most recent film at TIFF 2020, American Utopia, Spike has inspired audiences and made a lasting impact on the art of filmmaking.”

Named after legendary film critic Roger Ebert, the Award has gone to celebrated visionaries such as Martin Scorsese, Claire Denis, Ava DuVernay, Wim Wenders, and the late Agnès Varda. Past recipients who received the Award since the TIFF Tribute Awards were introduced include Sam Mendes (2022), Denis Villeneuve (2021), Chloé Zhao (2020), and Taika Waititi (2019).

The 2023 Tribute Awards will take place during the 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival at Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Now in its fifth year, the TIFF Tribute Awards have served as an awards-season bellwether, with past honorees Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Chastain, Roger Deakins, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi, and Chloé Zhao going on to win awards on the international stage.

The Awards night serves as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser, having raised $1.3 million in 2022. This year, the Tribute Awards gala will support the Viola Desmond Cinema campaign, which was launched through the Every Story Fund in 2022.

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