Questlove To Receive Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award


The Roots drummer Questlove will be presented with Sundance’s 2021 Vanguard Award for his directorial debut ‘Summer Of Soul.’

Sundance Institute will honor Questlove’s work as a director by presenting him with its Vanguard Award.

The Roots drummer and fellow director Siân Heder have been selected as the winners of the 2021 Vanguard Award. Sundance is awarding Questlove for his documentary Summer Of Soul and Heder for her coming-of-age film CODA.

“We are especially honored to recognize the visionary and award-winning directors Siân Heder and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson with the Vanguard Award,” Sundance’s feature film program director Michelle Satter said in a statement. “We were thrilled to bring enthusiastic audiences together at our Festival to experience the humanity, originality, and independent spirit of their culture-changing films. Siân and Ahmir join Sundance-supported directors Radha Blank, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, Marielle Heller and others in this annual celebration of singular independent storytellers.”

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is Questlove’s directorial debut. The critically acclaimed film is a documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which is also known as Black Woodstock.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award. Storytelling has always been the fiber of my creativity, be it DJing, writing articles/books, podcasting or teaching,” Questlove said. “Of course, I share this honor with the entire team behind Summer Of Soul. It was an honor to bring this historic event to light for audiences to experience.”

Heder, whose film CODA tells the story of a child of deaf adults, praised Questlove’s documentary in a statement about the Vanguard Award.

“I’m so grateful to Sundance for the incredible support that they have given to me on my journey as a filmmaker,” Heder said. “I am thrilled and honored to join the company of the artists who have previously received this award, as well as my co-honoree, Ahmir, and his brilliant film.”

Questlove and Heder will receive the Vanguard Award on October 20. Summer Of Soul is available to stream now on Hulu.