At the Sundance Film Festival Awards ceremony on Saturday, director John Cooper broke down in tears. Why? Because it was such a damned fine festival, where so many filmmakers were discovered and lauded. We are in a sweet zone for indie cinema, and Sundance helped to make that so.
One of the tortures for many of us attending was simply not being able to see as many films as we would like. You catch the stream and see what you see and interview who you want to and in the end you take your slice. There is no other way to roll. You can't see everything. Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist wondered why anyone would go to a party when they could see another movie. But the fest is many things to many people. I wouldn't have missed the IMDb dinner with Col Needham, Lucy Walker, Lynn Shelton and others–during the course of many revelations about our favorite films over the years, Shelton got the news from her producer that her film "Touchy Feely" had gotten some offers. They hugged. Sundance is also about getting to know people better. Sharing the love.
The awards Sunday night went to a broad smattering of global dramas and documentaries. Here's the ceremony, charmingly hosted by Sundance regular Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe), who sold his directorial debut "Don Jon's Addiction" at the fest. The full list of winners is below.
Tom Rothman, ex-co-chairman of Twentieth Century Fox and founder of Fox Searchlight, gave the Grand Jury Dramatic Prize to Ryan Coogler for "Fruitvale," his second of the night, as he also won the U.S. Dramatic audience award, "for its skillful realization and devastating emotional impact and moral and social urgency," he said. (Here's our review.)
"When I first wrote this project it was about humanity," said an overwhelmed Coogler, "how we treat each other. To get this award meant that it had a profound impact on the audience. This goes back to my home the Bay Area where Oscar Grant lived, breathed and survived for 22 years." (Weinstein Co. acquired the film.)
The Waldo Salt screenwriting award, for its "laugh-out-loud comedic moments and shrewd social commentary" went to actress-turned-writer-director Lake Bell for "In a World." "Thank you Sundance for giving me the encouragement to have the balls to do this," she said. (Here's Indiewire's interview, and The Playlist's review.)
The directing award for U.S. documentary went to a movie about the complex nature of love and art, "Cutie and the Boxer," about married Japanese artists. Director Zachary Heinzerling admitted that the film was funded "purely on grants." (Radius-TWC acquired the film.)
The directing award, "for its deft balance of tone and ensemble performances," said juror Edward Burns, went to Jill Solloway of "Afternoon Delight," one of two award-winners produced by Jen Chaiken and Sebastian Dungan, who also produced cinematorgaphy winner "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." Solloway cited her fellow Sundance women filmmakers, saying, "we crossed the street together holding hands." (Here's Indiewire's review.)
Juror Rodrigo Prieto cited the naturalistic lighting in giving the cinematography prize to Sundance standout Bradford Young for two fims, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Mother of George." Both directors came up to accept the award on his behalf and said "Thank you, Bradford." (Here's our review of "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," which was acquired by IFC FIlms; Oscilloscope picked up "Mother of George.")
The editing prize for a U.S. doc went to Matthew Hamachek for HBO's "Gideon's Army"; it was his second editing award at Sundance.
Steve Hoover's "Blood Brother" took home the U.S. Grand Jury Prize as well as the US doc competition audience award. Juror Davis Guggenheim said, "this movie shook us to our very core, a movie about self-sacrifice, a delicate character study, exuberant, heartbreaking, transcendent and profoundly moving."
A special dramatic jury prize for aural inventiveness and sound design went to Shane Carruth and Johnny Marshall for "Upstream Color." (Review round-up here.)
U.S. doc cinematography went to Richard Rowley of "Dirty Wars." (Sundance Selects acquired the film.)
A special jury prize for U.S. documentary went to "Inequality for All." "It was an honor to work with Robert Reich, and I hope the ideas get out to the world," said director Jacob Kornbluth. (Sundance Selects acquired the film.)
"A River Changes Course" won the Grand jury prize for world cinema.
The special jury award for world documentary went to "American Promise," from Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson.
The World Cinema Special Jury Prize, "or their confrontation with power," went to "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," from Mike Lerner & Maxim Pozdorovkin, "a film about female revolution." It's "the year of the pussy at Sundance," said juror Sean Farnell. (HBO Documentary Films acquired the doc.)
Cinematography went to "Who is Dayani Cristal?" D.P.s Marc Silver & Pau Esteve Birba. Silver thanked "whoever invented the Canon EOS 7D." (Our review and feature is here.)
The world doc editing award went to Ben Stark of "The Summit." Well-deserved. Director Nick Ryan accepted. (Our review is here.)
Complete list of winners below:
Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic:
"Fruitvale," directed by Ryan Coogler
Grand Jury Prize, Documentary:
"Blood Brother," directed by Steve Hoover
World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic:
"Jiseul," directed by Muel O
World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary:
"A River Changes Course," directed Kalyanee Mam
Dramatic Audience Award:
"Fruitvale," directed by Ryan Coogler
Documentary Audience Award:
"Blood Brother," directed by Steve Hoover
World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award:
"Metro Manila," directed by Sean Ellis
World Cinema Documentary Audience Award:
"The Square," directed by Jehane Noujaim
The Best of NEXT Audience Award:
"This Is Martin Bonner," directed by Chad Hartigan
Directing Award, Dramatic:
Jill Solloway, "Afternoon Delight"
Directing Award, Documentary:
Zachary Heinzerling, "Cutie and the Boxer"
World Cinema Directing Award, Dramatic:
Sebastián Silva, "Crystal Fairy"
World Cinema Directing Award, Documentary:
Tinatin Gurchiani, "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear"
Waldo Scott Screenwriting Award:
Lake Bell, "In a World"
World Cinema Screenwriting Award:
Barmak Akram, "Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)"
Documentary Editing Award:
Matthew Hamachek, "Gideon's Army"
World Cinema Documentary Editing Award:
Ben Stark, "The Summit"
Excellence in Cinematography Award, Dramatic:
Bradford Young, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Mother of George"
Excellence in Cinematography Award, Documentary:
Richard Rowley, "Dirty Wars"
World Cinema Cinematography Award, Dramatic:
Michal Englert, "Lasting"
World Cinema Cinematography Award, Documentary:
Marc Silver & Pau Esteve Birba, "Who Is Dayani Cristal?"
Special Jury Prize: Dramatic (Acting):
Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley, "The Spectacular Now"
Special Jury Prize: Dramatic (For Sound Design)
Shane Carruth & Johnny Marshal, "Upstream Color"
Special Jury Prizes: Documentary:
"Inequality For All," directed by Jacob Kornbluth
"American Promise" directed by Joe Brewster & Michèle Stephenson
World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Documentary
"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," directed by Mike Lerner & Maxim Pozdorovkin
World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic
"Circus" directed by Srdan Golubovic
Alfred P. Sloan Prize
"Computer Chess," directed by Andrew Bujalsi
The Short Film Audience Award
"Catnip: Egress to Oblivion," directed by Jason Willis
The Short Film Grand Jury Prize:
"The Whistle," directed by Grzegorz Zariczny
The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction:
"Whiplash," directed by Damien Chazelle
The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction:
"The Date," directed by Jenni Toivoniemi
The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction:
"Skinningrove," directed by Michael Almereyda
The Short Film Jury Award: Animation:
"Irish Folk Furniture," directed by Tony Donoghue
A Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting:
Joel Naglein in "Palimpsest"
A Short Film Special Jury Award:
"Until the Quiet Comes," directed by Kahlil Joseph