LA: Sundance Toasts Nate Parker at The Night Before Next Benefit

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Nate Parker
Nate Parker

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

On Thursday evening, Sundance Institute hosted the Night Before Next benefit at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The event honored Nate Parker (The Birth of a Nation) with the Institute’s annual Vanguard Award, which was presented to him by actor and Sundance alum Michael B. Jordan. During the event, Nate Parker and The Birth of a Nation team announced the Sundance Institute | The Birth of a Nation Fellowship for 18-to-24-year-old filmmakers participating in the Institute’s Ignite program.
 
In attendance at the event were Amy Redford, Armie Hammer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Clea Duvall, Harley Quinn Smith, Jason Ritter, Jay Duplass, J.K. Simmons, Katie Aselton, Kevin Smith,Lake Bell, Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Noël Wells, Norman Lear, Pat Mitchell, Sean Bailey and more. The evening included an outdoor party which featured specialty drinks, desserts and interactive games under the stars on a summer night as well as a live musical performance by White Sea, the solo project of Morgan Kibby of M83.
Nate Parker accepts his award from host committee members such as Armie Hammer
Nate Parker and the “Birth of a Nation” cast

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Parker and the cast, producers, and executive producers of The Birth of a Nation are investing in the next generation of diverse independent creativity with the Sundance Institute |The Birth of a Nation Fellowship for 18-to-24-year-old filmmakers participating in the Institute’s Ignite program. The Birth of a Nation was supported by the Institute’s renowned Feature Film Program for three years before its premiere, and won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
The Sundance Institute | The Birth of a Nation Fellowship will support a filmmaker of color each year for the next five years in the Sundance Ignite program, which was established in 2015 to provide year-round mentorship and industry experiences for talented young artists. The program aims to increase access to authentic, independent storytelling, developing a new audience base and providing a pipeline of support for emerging artists.
Michael B Jordan and Nate Parker
Michael B Jordan and Nate Parker

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The first Sundance Institute | The Birth of a Nation Fellow will be named in the Fall. Nate Parker and producer Jason Michael Berman were inspired by the program after meeting with the Ignite Fellows at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. There, they spoke about their film’s production process and gave each Ignite Fellow personal feedback and advice on pitching and developing film projects.
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said “We’re deeply moved and grateful that Nate, Jason and the entire team behind The Birth of a Nation chose to commemorate their project by supporting the Institute. Their gift embodies the generosity of spirit and mentorship at the core of our initiatives. They know our programs intimately, and know exactly how this gift will enable our work in honing and amplifying the next generation of artistic talent.”
Armie Hammer and Michael B Jordan
Armie Hammer and Michael B Jordan

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

 
“The support I received from the Institute in developing The Birth of a Nation echoed the critical importance of mentoring independent storytellers,” said Parker. “I am honored to sow back into the Institute in alignment with their mission to support talented young artists with stories to tell.”
 
Berman, a producer on The Birth of a Nation, said, “As we brought The Birth of a Nation to life with Sundance Institute and to audiences at the Festival, Nate, Kevin, Aaron, Preston and I, along with our cast and team of Executive Producers were inspired to find a way to fortify our longstanding relationship and the project’s legacy. It’s our team’s hope that this Fellowship underlines the importance of giving back, and that we inspire other successful filmmakers to contribute to the cultivation of young artists.”
Morgan Kibby, Keri Putnam, John Cooper
Morgan Kibby, Keri Putnam, John Cooper

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

 
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The film opens in theaters on October 7. 
 
The Acura-presented evening was supported by supported by two host committees: The dinner and cocktails committee was comprised of: Charmaine Bailey & Sean Bailey; Ryan Coogler; Lyn Lear & Norman Lear; Ava DuVernay; Cindy Harrell Horn & Alan Horn; Pat Mitchell & Scott Seydel; Amy Redford; and Nadine Schiff-Rosen & Frederic D. Rosen. The outdoor party committee included: Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Damien Chazelle, Lena Dunham, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marielle Heller, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rashida Jones, Franklin Leonard, Justin Lin, Melanie Lynskey and Kevin Smith.
Atmosphere at NIGHT BEFORE NEXT
Atmosphere at NIGHT BEFORE NEXT

Photo Credit: Ryan Kobane | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

 
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