TIFF announces legendary directors Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee as first 2023 TIFF Tribute Awards recipients

media release

August 3, 2023

TIFF announces legendary directors Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee as first 2023 TIFF Tribute Awards recipients

Fifth annual TIFF Tribute Awards fundraising gala to take place on Sunday, September 10

Portrait of Pablo Almodóvar and Spike Lee

Photo Credit (L): Iglesias Mas/El Deseo D.A. S.L.U.; Photo Credit (R): Spike Lee

TORONTO — Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF, is delighted to announce the first honourees of this year’s Tribute Awards: Academy Award®–winning directors and legends Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee. One of the world’s foremost filmmakers and provocative storytellers, Almodóvar will receive the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant, and Lee, a cultural icon who has influenced generations of filmmakers, will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award. The 2023 Tribute Awards presented by Bulgari will take place on Sunday, September 10, during the 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival at Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Now in its fifth year, the TIFF Tribute Awards have served as an awards-season bellwether, with past honourees Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Chastain, Roger Deakins, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi, and Chloé Zhao going on to win awards on the international stage.

“It’s a true thrill to acknowledge Pedro Almodóvar as the distinguished recipient of the Jeff Skoll Impact Media Award for 2023,” stated Bailey. “Pedro has been coming to TIFF for years, and each time is better than the time before. His artistic vision, bold storytelling, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of cinema have had a profound impact. He challenges societal norms, champions diversity, and illuminates the human experience with sensitivity and grace. We applaud his contributions to cinema and celebrate his ability to inspire and provoke audiences worldwide.”

The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema. Past recipients honoured in the prestigious category include Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2022, Alanis Obomsawin in 2021, and Mira Nair in 2020.

“The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their career,” continued Bailey. “A foremost storyteller of our era, Spike’s body of work from She’s Gotta Have It, to Do the Right Thing, to Mo’ Better Blues, to his most recent film at TIFF 2020, American Utopia, Spike has inspired audiences and made a lasting impact on the art of filmmaking.”

Named after legendary film critic Roger Ebert, the Award has gone to celebrated visionaries such as Martin Scorsese, Claire Denis, Ava DuVernay, Wim Wenders, and the late Agnès Varda. Past recipients who received the Award since the TIFF Tribute Awards were introduced include Sam Mendes (2022), Denis Villeneuve (2021), Chloé Zhao (2020), and Taika Waititi (2019).

Bulgari returns as a major sponsor and official jewellery partner of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, also presenting the Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award at the 2023 Tribute Awards. The partnership between TIFF and Bulgari highlights a shared commitment to arts and culture.

The Awards night serves as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser, having raised $1.3 million in 2022. This year, the Tribute Awards gala will support the Viola Desmond Cinema campaign, which was launched through the Every Story Fund in 2022. For more information, visit tiff.net/tribute.

Pedro Almodóvar Biography
Pedro Almodóvar was born in Calzada de Calatrava, Spain and left for Madrid at 17 to study cinema and direct film, but it became impossible when the National School of Cinema (in Madrid) was closed by the Franco government. As a result, Almdóvar was [mostly] self-taught, making a number of short films from 1974–1978. His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap, debuted in 1980. He launched his production company El Deseo with his brother Agustín in 1986, and has since produced, written, and directed his own and other directors’ films. Some of his films have been adapted into plays (All About My Mother) and even into musicals (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown). The Oscar-winning filmmaker has received numerous accolades over his five-decade career, including one of Spain’s top prizes for outstanding achievement, the Prince of Asturias Award (2006), and honourary degrees from Harvard University (2009) and Oxford University (2016).

Spike Lee Biography
Spike Lee is a graduate of Morehouse College, Class of 1979, with a B.A. in Mass Communications. He also is a Graduate of the Numero Uno, NYU Graduate Film School, and a classmate of Ernest Dickerson and Ang Lee 1982. He is also a tenured Film Professor and Artistic Director at NYU Graduate Film School.

Press Contact

Alejandra Sosa

Director, Communications

masosa@tiff.net


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The Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 7–17, 2023.

TIFF will respect SAG-AFTRA protocols regarding the participation of its members at the Festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 7–17, 2023. Tickets are on sale now at tiff.net.

About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, Visa, and BVLGARI®, and Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.

Artscape Sandbox is the Official home of the 2023 Press Office & The Media Inclusion Initiative.

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