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PARK CITY '08 DISPATCH | "Frozen River" and "Trouble The Water" Win Top Prizes at Sundance '08, "Man

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 27, 2008 at 7:30AM

Courtney Hunt's "Frozen River" won the dramatic grand jury prize and Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's "Trouble The Water" won the documentary grand jury prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival tonight. The dramatic audience award went to Jonathan Levine's "The Wackness," while the documentary audience award went to Josh Tickell's "Fields of Fuel." In the world cinema documentary competition, James Marsh's "Man on Wire" won both the grand jury prize and the audience award, while the world cinema dramatic jury prize went to Jens Jonsson's "King of Ping Pong" ("Ping Pongkingen") and the dramatic audience award went to Amin Matalqa's "Captain Abu Raed."
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Courtney Hunt's "Frozen River" won the dramatic grand jury prize and Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's "Trouble The Water" won the documentary grand jury prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival tonight. The dramatic audience award went to Jonathan Levine's "The Wackness," while the documentary audience award went to Josh Tickell's "Fields of Fuel." In the world cinema documentary competition, James Marsh's "Man on Wire" won both the grand jury prize and the audience award, while the world cinema dramatic jury prize went to Jens Jonsson's "King of Ping Pong" ("Ping Pongkingen") and the dramatic audience award went to Amin Matalqa's "Captain Abu Raed."

"I believe in a universe of abundance and every filmmaker here will find their perfect audience, and hopefully a ginormous one," enthused "Frozen River" director Courtney Hunt." And thanking lead actress Melissa Leo, she said, "To Melissa, most of all... four years she stood by me and never gave up faith that this would become a feature film and that I would direct it."

"When Carl and I began this journey we couldn't have imagined that...out of that would emerge a story that is all baout survival and hope," praised Tia Lessin, accepting the documentary grand jury prize for "Trouble The Water," with co-director Carl Deal.

Festival Director Geoff Gilmore at the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

"As the festival comes to a close, I am struck by a profound sense of significance and emergence this year," noted Sundance festival director Geoff Gilmore, emphasizing that we are "witnessing a new era of independent film." Continuing, he added, "Mark my words, this is a class of filmmakers which we will remember years from now."

"I just accepted an award from William H. Macy in a cowboy hat," quipped Jonathan Levine, director of "The Wackness," referring to the host of the evening's master of ceremonies. "That is so fucking weird." Continuing he added, "Thank you to the audience. I guess that is partially what this is about, [forming] a relationship with the audience, not necessarily making a relationship with studio or an agent..."

"A tick bit me in the ass when I started production," recalled "Anywhere U.S.A." director Chusy Haney-Jardine accepting his special jury prize, "I got Rocky Mountain spotted fever, I was in a coma, and now I am standing here today. Fucking a..."

"The past ten days I've be struck by the beauty and the power of the stories that you've chosen to tell," Sundance Institute executive director Ken Brecher said tonight, welcoming guests to the festival awards ceremony tonight. "If we are the stories that we tell ourselves, we better chose them well." Concluding the thought, Brecher added, "You have chosen very well and I thank you very much for that."


Complete list of Sundance 2008 Award Winners:

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
"Trouble The Water"; directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
"Frozen River"; directed by Courtney Hunt

World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary
"Man on Wire"; directed by James Marsh

World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic
"King of Ping Pong" ("Ping Pongkingen"); directed by Jens Jonsson

Audience Award: Documentary
Fields of Fuel"; directed by Josh Tickell

Audience Award: Dramatic
"The Wackness"; directed by Jonathan Levine

World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
"Man on Wire"; directed by James Marsh

World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic
"Captain Abu Raed"; directed by Amin Matalqa

Directing Award: Documentary
Nanette Burstein for "American Teen"

Directing Award: Dramatic
Lance Hammer for "Ballast"

World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary
Nino Kirtadze for "Durakovo: Village of Fools" ("Durakovo: Le Village Des Fous")

World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic
Anna Melikyan for "Mermaid" (Rusalka)

World Cinema Screenwriting Award
Samuel Benchetrit for "I Always Wanted To Be A Gangster" ("J'ai Toujours Reve D'Etre Un Gangster")

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award
Irena Dol for "The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins"

Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary
Phillip Hunt and Steven Sebring for "Patti Smith: Dream of Life"

Excellence in Cinematography Award: Dramatic
Lol Crawley for "Ballast"

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary
al Massad for "Recycle"

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic
Askild Vik Edvardsen for "King of King Pong" ("Ping Pongkingen")

Documentary Editing Award
Joe Bini for "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Alex Rivera and David Riker for "Sleep Dealer"

Special Jury Prizes

World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic
"Blue Eyelids ("Parpados Azules"), directed by Ernesto Contreas

Special Jury Prize: Documentary
"Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," directed by Lisa F. Jackson

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic, The Spirit of Independence
"Anywhere, U.S.A.," directed by Chusy Haney-Jardine

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic, Work by an Ensemble Cast
Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald and Brad Henke for "Choke"

Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking
"My Olympic Summer," directed by Daniel Robin
"Sikumi" ("On the Ice"), directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking
"Soft," directed by Simon Ellis

Shorts Jury Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking
"Aquarium," directed by Rob Meyer
"August 15th," directed by Xuan Jiang
"La Corona," ("The Crown"), directed by Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Oiran Lyrics," directed by Ryosuke Ogawa
"Spider," directed by Nash Edgerton
"Suspension," directed by Nicolas Provost
"W.," directed by The Vikings

Alfred P. Sloan Prize
"The Sleep Dealer"; directed by Alex Rivera

Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award
Alejandro Fernandez Almendras for "Huacho"
Braden King for "Here"
Aiko Nagatsu for "Apoptsis"
Radu Jude for "The Happiest Girl In The World"

indieWIRE's coverage of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival is available in iW's special Park City section.

This article is related to: Features, Festival Dispatch