Scroll To Top
Dee Rees

Watch: Dee Rees's Inspiring Acceptance Speech at Sundance NEXT Fest

Watch: Dee Rees's Inspiring Acceptance Speech at Sundance NEXT Fest

The queer Pariah director Dee Rees turned her acceptance speech for the 2017 Sundance Institute Vanguard Award into a must-see act of resistance. 

Dee Rees was awarded the 2017 Sundance Institute Vanguard Award at Sundance NEXT Fest on Sunday. Rees, who identifies as queer, wrote and directed the award-winning short film Pariah about a young woman growing up in Brooklyn and struggling with her sexual identity. In 2011, she turned her work into the feature film of the same name that went on to be nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and win for Best Cinematography. The film won numerous awards from festivals and critics alike. Since that time, Rees has gone on to direct for numerous TV shows including Empire and the HBO biopic Bessie, for which she was awarded an Emmy in 2015.

Her newest film, Mudbound, is a World War II-set piece based on Hillary Jordan's prize-winning 2008 book of the same name and centers on two families whose lives intersect amid the uncertainty of wartime America. The film screened at Sundance in January and is already getting Oscar buzz ahead of its theatrical release later this year.

The talented writer-director made it clear that she feels Sundance played a significant role in supporting her to find and express her voice. But she used the bulk of her acceptance speech, which was equal parts poetry and verbal activism, to point out just how far we've come and how far we have to go to achieve full racial and LGBTQ equality.

Latest Stories

Mel Orpen