Cinema Vanguard Award (SBIFF 2020)

Review by Christiana Leonardo. Attended at SBIFF 2020.

Presented by Manitou Fund, this years Cinema Vanguard Award was earned by Laura Dern for her remarkable career and recent performances in 2019 in Marriage Story and Little Women.

I, at the young age of 20, not a film student, not familiar with Laura Dern before her popularity surge this past year, was shocked to see her immense and impressive body of work. Snippets from her films played in a compilation from her career that began when she was in the womb, really.

She tells a charming tale of how she was conceived on a film set to Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. Her actor parents were working and would take her to film sets growing up. She was on the sets with Alfred Hitchcock and worked as an extra.

A professional and engaging storyteller, Laura recounted her father giving her acting advice when she was young essentially saying to not be pigeonholed. The snippets of her work that played in between the interview question displayed that she really has played drastically different roles back to back and her talent has been growing since her infantile initiation to the craft.

She tells of when she had been accepted to UCLA as a freshman and on second day of classes was offered role in a David Lynch film. She tried many angles but the school would not allow a leave of absence and she trusted her gut and knew that she would learn much more working with Lynch. She shared that working with his genius changed her life perspective. She even mentioned that after he won his Academy Award for Blue Velvet, off stage he mentioned to her, “They’re not our ideas, we are just lucky if we catch them.”

Attending a tribute like this to one of the most talented Actors of our time is really special when you are able to hear insightful and personal tales like I did on this night in the Arlington Theatre.

About this entry