It was a fait accompli pretty much from minute one. No other film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival got as much buzz as 29-year-old first-time feature-length filmmaker Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts Of The Southern Wild," a mythical film about a 6-year-old girl who lives in a southern Delta community at the edge of the world (read our review here). And so it was no surprise that the film won the jury prize for best drama (and cinematography) at last night's Sundance awards ceremony.
"This project was such a runt, this sort of messy-hair, dirty, wild child, and we just have been taken care of and just eased along until we were ready to stand up on our own," Zeitlen said in an interview after the ceremony. "It's just great that it happened here. This is the right place for the world to meet the film."
Zeitlen's acclaimed short, "Glory at Sea" (which you can watch below) received notable raves, so it's nice to see the filmmaker lived up to that promise. Fox Searchlight bought the film early last week. Eugene Jarecki's "The House I Live In," an all-encompassing chronicle on the losing American war on drugs, won the documentary prize. Another buzzed about film, also snatched up by Fox Searchlight for a cool $6 million (the highest purchase this year), "The Surrogate," starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and Wiliam H. Macy, won the audience award for best drama. The audience award for best documentary went to "The Invisible War," a film about the unreported world of sexual assault in the U.S. military. Full winners below, applicable Playlist reviews linked below. All our Sundance reviews can be viewed here.
Full 2012 Sundance Film Festival Winners:
Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – "The House I Live In"
Directing Award: Dramatic – "Middle of Nowhere"
Directing Award: U.S. Documentary – "The Queen of Versailles"
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award – "Safety Not Guaranteed"
Excellence in Editing Award: U.S Documentary – "Detropia"
Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S Dramatic – "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary – "Chasing Ice"
Special Jury Prize: Dramatic – Ensemble Cast: "The Surrogate"
Special Jury Prize: Dramatic – Film Producing: "Smashed"
Special Jury Prizes: U.S. Documentary – "Love Free or Die; Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"
Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic – "The Surrogate"
Audience Award: U.S. Documentary – "The Invisible War"
World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic – "Valley of Saints"
World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary – "Searching for Sugar Man"
Best of Next Audience Award: "Sleepwalk with Me"
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – "Violeta Went to Heaven"
World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic – "Teddy Bear"
World Cinema Screenwriting Award: Dramatic – "Young & Wild"
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic – "My Brother the Devil"
World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic – "Can"
World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary – "The Law in These Parts"
World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary – "5 Broken Cameras"
World Cinema Excellence in Editing Award: Documentary – "Indie Game: The Movie"
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary – "Putin’s Kiss"
World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Documentary – "Searching for Sugar Man"
Alfred P. Sloan Awards – "Robot and Frank"; "Valley of Saints"
Here's Zeitlen's acceptance speech.
Here's Zeitlin's short "Glory At Sea."