Nate Parker accepts Sundance award, creates youth fellowship

Nate Parker arrives at the Sundance NIGHT BEFORE NEXT Benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Nate Parker arrives at the Sundance NIGHT BEFORE NEXT Benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Nate Parker arrives at the Sundance NIGHT BEFORE NEXT Benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
John Cooper, from left, Keri Putnam, Nate Parker, and Michelle Satter arrive at the Sundance NIGHT BEFORE NEXT Benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Nate Parker arrives at the Sundance NIGHT BEFORE NEXT Benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES — The writer, director, producer and star of "The Birth of a Nation" says the Sundance Institute offered him encouragement and support when he needed it most.

"They are the family I never had in this industry," Nate Parker said as he accepted the organization's Vanguard Award at a fundraising dinner Thursday night at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.

Parker wants other aspiring filmmakers to have the same opportunity, so the cast and crew of "The Birth of a Nation" is endowing a fellowship for a young filmmaker of color to participate in the Sundance Institute's Ignite program each year for the next five years.

Parker said Sundance support validated and inspired him as he struggled to bring the true story of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner to the screen in "The Birth of a Nation." The film won audience and grand jury prizes when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Fox Searchlight will release it in October.

Parker compared the long process of making the film to being on a deserted island.

"You're by yourself and all you have in your hand is your script and your dream — whatever that thing is, your voice — and you're surrounded by fear," he said.

That's when the Sundance Feature Film Program stepped in to help, and Parker said he's been "desperately humbled" to accept its support and accolades.

Parker is the fifth filmmaker to receive the Vanguard Award, joining previous recipients Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Ryan Coogler ("Fruitvale Station"), Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash") and Marielle Heller ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl"). "Fruitvale Station" star Michael B. Jordan presented Parker with the prize, which includes ongoing mentorship and a cash grant.

"I've worked very hard to use my art to combat injustices everywhere I see them," Parker said. "That's my voice ... and having institutions like Sundance support those things is everything."

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

___

This story corrects name of student Sundance program to Ignite.

You may also interested in

Daughter of Motown stars to Detroit students:...

Aug 11, 2016

The daughter of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and one of its biggest stars, Diana Ross, says...

'Criminal Minds' veteran Thomas Gibson fired from...

Aug 12, 2016

Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from the long-running CBS drama "Criminal Minds."

Nephew in 'Making a Murderer' has conviction...

Aug 13, 2016

A judge has overturned the conviction of a Wisconsin man found guilty of helping his uncle kill a...

Trump goes on tear against media, not Clinton

Aug 14, 2016

Trump campaign blames 'disgusting' press for a week of distractions at a time when Republicans...

'Wire' actor Wendell Pierce loses Baton Rouge home

Aug 16, 2016

"The Wire" and "Treme" actor Wendell Pierce's home was destroyed by flooding in Baton Rouge,...

About Us

Buzz Online Daily brings to you the trendy and up-to-date viral news, entertainment news, and local breaking news exclusively to our dedicated readers.

Contact us: sales[at]buzzonlinedaily.com

Subscribe Now!