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By Film Threat Staff | December 1, 2001

Benicio Del Toro will receive the Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision at the Sundance Film Festival being held in Park City, Utah, January 10, 2002. The Tribute was created to honor a film artist who has made a significant and unique contribution to independent film. The award will be presented on Sunday, January 13, 2002 at a special ceremony featuring retrospective clips and a live, onstage interview with Mr. Del Toro.
The kind of success Benicio Del Toro experienced last year is the tremendous and well-earned outcome of a career marked by a series of unfailingly extraordinary and not-easy-to-capture character performances. Despite his success in several prominent productions Benicio, remarkably, has not deserted his independent roots and deserves great acclaim for steadfastly continuing to foster and portray fresh and original material,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Codirector of the Sundance Film Festival and Director of Film Programming.
Benicio Del Toro has garnered a worldwide cinema audience with performances in such diverse films as WAY OF THE GUN, INDIAN RUNNER, CHINA MOON, FEARLESS, SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, THE FUNERAL, THE FAN, and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.
Del Toro’s role as “Javier Rodriguez” in the Steven Soderbergh’s film TRAFFIC earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for best actor. He received Best Supporting Actor Independent Spirit Awards for his portrayal of “Benny Dalmau” in BASQUAIT, and as “Fred Fenster” in THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Del Toro has also had co-starring roles in Guy Ritchie’s SNATCH, and Sean Penn’s THE PLEDGE. He has just wrapped production on Paramount Pictures THE HUNTED opposite Tommy Lee Jones.
Del Toro studied acting at the Circle in the Square Acting School in New York and won a scholarship to the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in Los Angeles. He continued to study acting at the Actor’s Circle Theater, which led to guest starring roles on various television series and movies for television.
This year, the Sundance Film Festival and Champagne Piper-Heidsieck celebrate the eleventh anniversary of their collaboration in presenting the Tribute to Independent Vision. Previous recipients of the award are Julianne Moore (2001), Kevin Spacey (2000), Laura Dern (1999), Frances MacDormand (1998), Tim Robbins (1997), Dianne Wiest (1996), Nicolas Cage (1995), Gena Rowlands (1994), Denzel Washington (1993), and John Turturro (1992).
“We at Champagne Piper-Heidsieck are proud to be celebrating the 11th anniversary of our participation in the Sundance Film Festival, and proud to be the sponsor of the Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision to Benicio Del Toro. Mr. Del Toro’s intricately crafted characters embody a truly independent spirit, and his enthusiasm and talent make him an ideal candidate for this award. We congratulate Mr. Del Toro for his outstanding accomplishments, and we are delighted to welcome him at this year’s Sundance Film Festival,” stated Todd Wasserman, Piper-Heidsieck U.S Brand Manager.
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