The Sundance Film Festival has ended, and we know a few of the films that we will hear about over the next year. There were 128 feature films at Sundance this year, and 29 prizes for feature filmmaking were given out. The Awards Ceremony took place on Saturday night, with Grand Jury Prizes awarded to “Minari” in U.S. Dramatic, “Boys State” ins U.S. Documentary, “Epicentro” in World Cinema Documentary, and “Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness” in the World Cinema Dramatic category. You will want to keep these films on your radar over the next few months, either at the specialty box office or on a streaming platform. The 28 prizes were awarded to 25 different films. Among the 29 filmmakers, 12 of the winners were directed by one or more women; 10 were directed by one or more people of color; and 2 were directed by a person who identifies as LGBTQ+.
“At Sundance, we believe art can break through noise and polarization. In volatile times like these, democracy and storytelling aren’t separate – they’re inextricably linked,” said Keri Putnam, Sundance Institute’s Executive Director. “Congratulations to each and every one of tonight’s winners, and to all the extraordinary artists who joined us at the Festival.
“As my final Festival as director comes to a close, it has been the honor of a lifetime to stand with these artists, and to see their work meet audiences for the first time,” said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival Director.
Joining the 128 feature-length films were 74 short films, selected from more than 15,100 submissions. The 2020 Sundance Film Award Jurors were Rodrigo Garcia, Ethan Hawke, Dee Rees, Isabella Rossellini, Wash Westmoreland, Kimberly Reed, Rachel Rosen, Courtney Sexton, E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Noland Walker, Haifaa Al Mansour, Wagner Moura, Alba Rohrwacher, Eric Hynes, Rima Mismar, and Nanfu Wang. Gregg Araki was the sole NEXT juror.
In the domestic categories, the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine for “Boys State.” The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Lee Isaac Chung for the movie “Minari.” The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht for “Crip Camp,” and the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari.” The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Garrett Bradley for “Time,” and the Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to “The 40-Year-Old Version.” The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Edson Oda this year for “Nine Days.”
The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Hubert Sauper for “Epicentro,” and the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Massoud Bakhshi for “Yalda.” This year’s Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Jerry Rothwell for “The Reason I Jump,” and the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Fernanda Valadez for “Identifying Features.” The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Iryna Tsilyk for “The Earth Is Blue as an Orange,” and the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Maïmouna Doucouré for “Cuties.”
NEXT has two awards.The NEXT Innovator Prize and Audience Award: NEXT was presented to Heidi Ewing for “I Carry You With Me.”
There are quite a few special awards, and they went out to a diverse lineup. The U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast was presented to the cast of Charm City Kings, for “Charm City Kings.” A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Auteur Filmmaking was presented to Josephine Decker for “Shirley,” and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Neo-Realism was presented to Eliza Hittman for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing was presented to Tyler H. Walk for “Welcome to Chechnya,” and a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling was presented to Kirsten Johnson for “Dick Johnson Is Dead.” The U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker was presented to Arthur Jones for “Feels Good Man,” and a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking was presented to Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres for “The Fight.”
In World Cinema special awards, the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to Ben Whishaw for “Surge.” A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking was presented to Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese for “This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection,” and a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay was presented to Fernanda Valadez and Astrid Rondero for “Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares).” The World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling was presented to Benjamin Ree for “The Painter and the Thief,” and a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography was presented to Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc, for “Acasa.” A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing was presented to Mila Aung-Thwin, Sam Soko, and Ryan Mullins, for “Softie.”
Other awards for the night include the Short Film Grand Jury Prize for “So What If The Goats Die.” The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was awarded to “The Devil’s Harmony,” and the Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction was awarded to “John Was Trying to Contact Aliens.” The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to “Daughter,” and a Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to “Exam.” The Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to “Valerio’s Day Out.”
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