After winning over audiences at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, “The Farewell” swept IndieWire’s critics’ survey for best film, director and screenplay. This funny, heartwarming story “based on an actual lie” follows Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi — played by rapper-turned actress Awkwafina — as she returns to Changchun for a family reunion. There, she discovers that although the whole clan has come together because their matriarch, Nai Nai (grandma), only has weeks to live, they’ve decided not to actually tell Nai Nai herself. While Billi clashes with some of her family’s traditions and expectations, the film’s main takeaway is a positive reinforcement of familial bonds full of laughter and a few tender tears.
Writer/director Lulu Wang will be presented the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award as part of the premiere party festivities.