For the first time in the Festivals 15-year history, Cinequest will present an individual with the Emerging Maverick Award. The first recipient of this honor will be breakthrough artist Blanchard Ryan, best known for her role in the runaway-hit Open Water. Ryan will be recognized and celebrated for her emerging artistry with a conversation event focusing on how she made it as an actor, what changed in her world as the recognition grew, and how she plans to maintain her individuality and authenticity while her star continues to rise. Cinequest is delighted to present Blanchard with this award for being someone who has proven her Maverick ability to swim with the sharks and survive. A special screening of Open Water will follow the Emerging Maverick Award presentation and the conversation with Ryan.
Blanchard Ryan was born in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in political philosophy. She began her career in commercials while studying acting and improv in New York and soon elicited a warm reception to her small roles in independent films like My Sisters Wedding and Super Troopers and in television programs such as HBOs Sex and the City where she played the Vera Wang salesperson in the episode Running With Scissors". However, it was her role in Open Water, the high-grossing, low-budget independent film, where Ryan left her biggest impression and rumors began to flow that this talented screen siren was destined for success. Cinequest is proud to honor this gifted young woman for her strides made in the world of independent filmmaking and beyond.