Sundance 2021 Awards: ‘CODA’ has Record-Breaking Week

A total of 73 feature films screened at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and the film to keep on your radar is “CODA.” The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday night, hosted by actor and comedian Patton Oswalt, and the jurors presented 24 prizes for feature filmmaking and seven for Short Films. The Grand Jury Prizes were awarded to “CODA”, which broke multiple Sundance records this year, as well as “Summer of Soul,” “Flee,” and “Hive.”

“This has been a singular Festival for a singular moment,” said Sundance Institute CEO Keri Putnam. “We’ve been able to elevate independent art and celebrate a wonderful slate of films by gathering in new ways, ways that worked thanks to adventurous audiences everywhere, eager to connect and engage with the work and with one another. Watching people come together to connect and discuss exciting new work has been incredibly rewarding – and a resounding confirmation that great independent storytelling inspires rich conversation.”

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The first record that “CODA” broke at this year’s event was being picked up by Apple for $25M on opening night. The movie then became the first film in Sundance’s history to win the U.S. Dramatic Competition category: the grand jury prize and the directing prize. “CODA” also won the audience award and a special jury prize for best ensemble this week.

“This was not a ‘virtual’ festival, it was a real festival and the power of these artists and their work was what made it so,” added Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson, “It has been a privilege to help this work meet new audiences and enter the culture with such fanfare, especially now, when breaking through the noise is harder than ever.”

The 73 feature-length and 50 short films were selected from more than 14,000 submissions. The movies were showcased online via the Festival’s custom-built online platform, as well as in 28 Satellite Screen locations across the United States.

The feature film jurors were Julie Dash, Cynthia Erivo, Hanya Yanagihara, Ashley Clark, Joshua Oppenheimer, Lana Wilson, Zeynep Atakan, Isaac Julien, Daniela Vega, Kim Longinotto, Mohamed Saïd Ouma, and Jean Tsien. Kate and Laura Mulleavy served as co-jurors for NEXT.

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The Shorts jurors were Raúl Castillo, Tacita Dean and Inge de Leeuw. A newly-created award, the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award for U.S. Documentary, has been created to memorialize the late editor and joins the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for U.S. Dramatic. This year’s Audience Awards were presented by Sundance alumni Alison Brie, Shira Haas, and Diego Luna.


Grand Jury Prize: “CODA”
Audience Award: “CODA”
Directing Award: Siân Heder, “CODA”
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, “On the Count of Three”
Special Jury Award for Best Actor: Clifton Collins Jr., “Jockey”
Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble: The cast of “CODA” (Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, and Marlee Matlin)


Grand Jury Prize: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
Audience Award: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
Directing Award: Natalia Almada, “Users”
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno, “Homeroom”
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt, “Cusp”
Special Jury Award for Nonfiction Experimentation: Theo Anthony, “All Light, Everywhere”


Grand Jury Prize: “Hive”
Audience Award: “Hive”
Directing Award: Blerta Basholli, “Hive”
Special Jury Award for Acting: Jesmark Scicluna, “Luzzu”
Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: “One for the Road,” Baz Poonpiriya


Grand Jury Prize: “Flee”
Audience Award: “Writing With Fire”
Directing Award: Hogir Hirori, “Sabaya”
Special Jury Award for Vérité Filmmaking: Camilla Nielsson, “President”
Special Jury Award for Impact for Change: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh, “Writing With Fire”


NEXT Audience Award: Marion Hill, “My Belle, My Beauty”
NEXT Innovator Award: Dash Shaw (director), Jane Samborski (animation director), “Cryptozoo”
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: Alexis Gambis, “Son of Monarchs”
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Features: Natalie Qasabian, “Run”
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features: Nicole Salazar, “Philly D.A.”
Sundance Institute NHK Award: Meryam Joobeur, “Motherhood”
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Nonfiction: Juli Vizza,
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Fiction: Terilyn Shropshire.

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