The Birdman director continued his awards season streak by collecting the Vanguard Leadership Award in recognition of his distinguished career in filmmaking and advocacy of independent film.

Upon receiving his prize from Selma director Ava DuVernay, the Mexican filmmaker told the audience, "I don't deserve an award for what I do with joy and freely, but I thank you for it...

"It's Sundance that's the real vanguard, keeping stories that protect the integrity of the world of sonic images. We are all the vanguard. We have to protect the importance of culture. Art is created because the world is not perfect."

Writer/director Marielle Heller was also honoured with the Vanguard Award, for her film The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which debuted to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year (15).