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PARK CITY '06: "Quinceanera" and "God Grew Tired of Us" Each Win Jury & Audience Prizes at Sundance

Indiewire By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire January 29, 2006 at 4:0AM

Two new American independent films swept both jury and audience awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival this year, a first in the history of this twenty-two year-old festival recognized as the most important in the United States. Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer's "Quinceanera" and Christopher Quinn's "God Grew Tired of Us" were among the big winners tonight as Sundance presented prizes at the conclusion of its 2006 event in Park City, UT. "Quinceanera" won both the dramatic grand jury prize and the audience award, while "God Grew Tired of Us" also won both the grand jury award and the audience prize in the documentary competition.
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Two new American independent films swept both jury and audience awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival this year, a first in the history of this twenty-two year-old festival recognized as the most important in the United States. Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer's "Quinceanera" and Christopher Quinn's "God Grew Tired of Us" were among the big winners tonight as Sundance presented prizes at the conclusion of its 2006 event in Park City, UT. "Quinceanera" won both the dramatic grand jury prize and the audience award, while "God Grew Tired of Us" also won both the grand jury award and the audience prize in the documentary competition.

Set in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Westmoreland and Glatzer's charming and touching "Quinceaneara" begins and ends with the traditional 15th birthday celebration for a young Latina, offering a look at a group of teenagers coming-of-age in a rapidly gentrifying area of the city. Over the course of the film, shot in three weeks within the filmmaker's own neighborhood, the cultural tensions between traditional and modern families are explored. The film stars a newcomer cast that includes leads Emily Rios and Jesse Garcia.

A look at a group of displaced Africans, Quinn's emotional "God Grew Tired of Us" explores the experiences in the United States of three of the infamous "lost boys of Sudan" who emigrated to this country seeking refuge from the ravages of a civil war back home.

Pictured right: "God Grew Tired of Us" director Christopher Quinn. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

World Cinema Winners

Two films from Mexico were selected as the top winners of the World Cinema documentary grand jury and audience awards. Juan Carlos Rulfo's "In The Pit," the story of the struggle for survival of a group of workers building a freeway in Mexico City, won the documentary grand jury award, while the World Cinema documentary audience award went to Tin Dirdamal's "De Nadie."

In the festival's World Cinema dramatic competition, Gela Babluani's "13 Tzameti" from France, described as the story of a protagonist who "decides to follow instructions intended for someone else (and) finds himself at the brink of human decency, a place whose only inhabitants are the underbelly of society," won the dramatic grand jury prize, and the World Cinema dramatic audience award went to Toa Fraser's "No. 2" from New Zealand.


Directing, Cinematography, Screenwriting and Editing Awards

Filmmaker James Longley won the documentary directing award for "Iraq In Fragments," an insightful, strikingly visual look at life in Iraq. The film also won the cinematography award for the filmmaker's camera work and the fest's first documentary editing award for the work of Longley, Billy McMillin, and Fiona Otway.

The dramatic directing award singled out the accomplished work of first-timer Dito Montiel, director of "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints," an adaptation of the filmmaker's own novel. The film was also honored with a special jury prize for best ensemble performance, recognizing the work of Robert Downey, Jr., Shia La Boeuf, Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest and Channing Tatum.

In the dramatic category, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award went to Hilary Brougher for "Stephanie Daley" and the cinematography prize was awarded to Tom Richmond for his work on "Right At Your Door." A special jury prize for independent vision went to So Yong Kim for her film, "In Between Days."


Special Prizes

Other special jury prizes went to the documentaries "American Blackout" by Ian Inaba and "TV Junkie" by Michael Cain and Matt Radecki in the American doc category, while in the World Cinema doc category jurors recognized Philip Groening's "Into Great Silence" and Yonghi Yang's "Dear Pyongyang". A special jury prize, in the World Cinema dramatic competition, went to Julia Kwan's "Eve & The Fire House."


Short Film Winners

The festival's Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking was shared by Carter Smith's "Bugcrush" and Adam Parrish King's "The Wraith of Cobble Hill," while the Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking went to Alex Pastor's "The Natural Route" from Spain.

Honorable mentions in short filmmaking went to "Before Dawn" (Hungary), directed by Balint Kenyeres; "Preacher With An Unknown God", directed by Rob VanAlkemade; and "Undressing My Mother" (Ireland), directed by Ken Wardrop.


The Jurors

The 2006 Documentary Competition Jurors were Joe Bini, Zana Briski, Andrew Jarecki, Alexander Payne and Heather Rae, while the 2006 Dramatic Competition Jurors are Miguel Arteta, Terrence Howard, Alan Rudolph, Nancy Schreiber, and Audrey Wells. World Cinema Documentary Competition Jurors included Kate Amend, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Rachel Perkins, and World Cinema Dramatic Competition Jurors are Irene Bignardi, Lu Chuan and Thomas Vinterberg. The 2006 Shorts Jurors were Georgia Lee, Sydney Neter and John Vanco.


Complete list of winners:

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
God Grew Tired of Us, directed by Christopher Quinn

Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
Quinceanera, written and directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer

World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary
In the Pit (Mexico), written and directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo

World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic
13 Tzameti (France), written and directed by Gela Babluani

Audience Award: Documentary
God Grew Tired of Us, a film directed by Christopher Quinn

Audience Award: Dramatic
Quinceanera, written and directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer

World Cinema Audience Award
De Nadie (Mexico), directed by Tin Dirdamal

World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic
No. 2 (New Zealand), written and directed by Toa Fraser

Documentary Directing Award
James Longley, director of Iraq in Fragments

Dramatic Directing Award
Dito Montiel for A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

Excellence in Cinematography Award
James Longley for Iraq In Fragments (Documentary Competition)
Tom Richmond for Right At Your Door (Dramatic Competition)

Documentary Film Editing
Billy McMillin, Fiona Otway and James Longley, editors of Iraq in Fragments

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Hilary Brougher for Stephanie Daley

Special Jury Prize (Documentary)
American Blackout, directed by Ian Inaba
TV Junkie, directed by Michael Cain and Matt Radecki

Special Jury Prizes (Dramatic)
Best Ensemble Performance for A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, directed by Dito Montiel and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Shia La Boeuf, Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest and Channing Tatum

Special Jury Prizes (Dramatic) for Independent Vision
In Between Days directed by So Yong Kim and written by So Yong Kim and Bradley Rust Gray

Special Jury Prizes (World Cinema Documentary)
Into Great Silence, written and directed by Philip Groening
Dear Pyongyang, written and directed by Yonghi Yang

Special Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic)
Eve & The Fire Horse, written and directed by Julia Kwan

Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking (tie)
Bugcrush, directed by Carter Smith
The Wraith Of Cobble Hill, directed by Adam Parrish King

Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking
The Natural Route (Spain), directed by Alex Pastor

Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking
Before Dawn (Hungary), directed by Balint Kenyeres
Preacher With An Unknown God, directed by Rob VanAlkemade
Undressing My Mother (Ireland), directed by Ken Wardrop