By Jeff Labrecque
Updated September 20, 2012 at 05:31 PM EDT
Ebert Moore
Credit: Sandria Miller

Roger Ebert will be honored by the Sundance Institute with a Vanguard Leadership Award recognizing his contributions to independent filmmaking, it was announced today.

The award-winning movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, prolific author and blogger, and co-host of the long-running At the Movies television program has been a vocal advocate for and a constant presence at the Sundance Film Festival. “Among the many things I admire about Roger Ebert is how he has long supported freedom of artistic expression,” said Sundance’s president Robert Redford, in a statement. “When I started Sundance in 1980, and when few would support us, Roger was there. This was one of the ways he communicated his forward-thinking outlook. He was one of the first to support our artists. His influence and reach is as meaningful as his personal passion for cinema, and he certainly deserves this award.”

Ebert, who runs his own annual film festival — Ebertfest — will accept his award at a Celebrate Sundance benefit on June 5 in Los Angeles.

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