Highlights from our 2018 Visionaries Tribute Luncheon

The fifth annual Visionaries Tribute took place today at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom. Veteran filmmakers Wim Wenders and Orlando Bagwell received Lifetime Achievement recognition. The Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence went to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (MeruFree Solo) and the Leading Light Award went to Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

We are thankful to Netflix as our Leadership Sponsor this year supporting the Visionaries Tribute.

The Visionaries Tribute has become a key event in the documentary calendar, where leading industry figures come together to celebrate the achievement of their peers. Notable attendees this year included Michael Moore, Sheila Nevins, Alex Gibney, Barbara Kopple & D.A. Pennebaker.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals with a substantial body of film work. Past recipients are Sheila Nevins, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, Jonathan Demme, Barbara Kopple, Jon Alpert, Frederick Wiseman, D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Albert Maysles.

The winners of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award are:

Wim Wenders has directed the Oscar-nominated documentaries The Salt of the EarthPina and Buena Vista Social Club, along with nonfiction titles such as The Blues and Room 666 and celebrated fiction films such as Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire. His latest documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word screened at the festival as part of the Short List Strand.

Wim Wenders

(Image: Wim Wenders, by Lou Aguilar)

Orlando Bagwell’s directing credits include Citizen KingA Hymn for Alvin AileyMalcolm X: Make It Plain, and two episodes in the landmark Eyes on the Prize series. Serving as a program officer at the Ford Foundation for nearly a decade, Bagwell established the $50 million JustFilms fund. He is currently finishing a documentary on Gil Scott-Heron.

(Image: Orlando Bagwell, by Lou Aguilar)

The Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence is named for the pioneering husband and wife filmmaking team. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize to the filmmakers, contributed by Drew Associates, under the helm of Jill Drew. The award honors a mid-career filmmaker or partnership that excels in observational filmmaking. Past recipients include Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Dawn Porter, Kim Longinotto, and Laura Poitras.

The winners of the 2018 Robert and Anne Drew Award are:

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the filmmaking team behind Meru and this year’s Free Solo. Vasarhelyi has additional solo directing credits on other films including Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, ToubaA Normal Life and the award-winning IncorruptibleChin is also a professional climber and has an accomplished career as a photographer for National Geographic and other outlets.

(Image: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, by Lou Aguilar)

The Leading Light Award honors an individual making a critical contribution to documentary in a role other than as a filmmaker. The past recipients are Cara Mertes, Molly Thompson, Tom Quinn, and Dan Cogan.

The 2018 Leading Light Award goes to:

Tabitha Jackson, who has served as the Director of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute since 2013. She previously worked as the Head of Arts and Performance at Channel 4 Television in London.

(Image: Tabitha Jackson, by Lou Aguilar)

The Visionaries Tribute honorees are identified by recommendations from members of the Host Committee from past years and chosen by the festival’s programming team.

The NEON Shorts Award also debuted at this year’s Visionaries event, with the inaugural award given to Horatio Baltz, whose film True Love in Pueblo Textil has been selected for DOC NYC 2018.

(Image: Horatio Baltz, by Lou Aguilar)

You can see a full gallery of photos from the Visionaries Tribute Luncheon by hovering over the image below:

2018 - Visionaries Tribute

Additional support for the Visionaries Tribute was provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies and National Geographic Documentary Films.