Legendary directors Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee to be first 2023 TIFF Tribute Awards recipients

TIFF Tribute Awards 2023. Photo Credit (L): Iglesias Mas/El Deseo D.A. S.L.U.; Photo Credit (R): Spike Lee

#TIFF2023; #TIFFTributeAwards

Toronto/CMEDIA: The first honourees of this year’s Tribute Awards in during 2023 TIFF would be Academy Award®–winning directors and legends Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee, Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF has announced.

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

Almodóvar, one of the world’s foremost filmmakers and provocative storytellers, would be the recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media, presented by Participant recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema.

“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.”

Past recipients honoured in the prestigious category include Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2022, Alanis Obomsawin in 2021, and Mira Nair in 2020.

TIFF Ebert Director Award would be bestowed on Lee, a cultural icon who has influenced generations of filmmakers.

“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 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).

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.

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.

Born in Calzada de Calatrava, Spain,  Pedro Almodóvar left for Madrid at 17 to study cinema and direct film, but unfortunately the National School of Cinema (in Madrid) was closed by the Franco government. 
Consequently, mostly self-taught, Almdóvar made a number of short films from 1974–1978. 

His first feature film debut in 1980 was Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap.

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).

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

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)