"We couldn't think of a better person to give our first award to," Moore said Thursday. "Jeff is not only one of the best American actors working today, he is also an exceptional independent filmmaker who has chosen to reside here in Michigan."
Daniels will be on hand to accept the award at the July 31 opening of the festival. He will also join a panel discussion with other filmmakers the next morning, Moore said.
Daniels, 51, established the Purple Rose Theatre Company in his hometown of Chelsea, Mich.
He received critical acclaim last year for his role as the pretentious Bernard in "The Squid and the Whale" and also appeared in George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" as former CBS news head Sig Mickelson. His other films include "Dumb & Dumber," "Terms of Endearment" and "The Purple Rose of Cairo."
He also directed and starred in "Escanaba in da Moonlight," an offbeat comedy about deer hunting filmed on location in its namesake Michigan town.