“Primer” and “DIG!” Win Top Prizes at Sundance ’04
by Eugene Hernandez
Shane Carruth’s dramatic film “Primer” and Ondi Timoner’s documentary “DIG!” won the grand jury prizes at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. In the audience award balloting, Ross Kauffman & Zana Briski’s “Born Into Brothels” won the documentary prize, while the dramatic award went to Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace.” Awards were presented Saturday night in Park City, UT on the final weekend of Sundance 2004.
“Primer,” the story of four men working on technical devices who discover a mechanism that changes their lives, is Carruth’s first feature film. Shot for the “price of a used car,” according to the director, the film remains in the midst of a minor bidding battle with a number of smaller distribution companies pursuing the film. A pact had not yet been announced late Saturday. “Primer” also won the annual Alfred P. Sloan Prize, including a $20,000 cash award.
“DIG!” follows two bands, the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre, during a seven-year period. Over the course of the movie the paths of the bands intersect and then head in very different directions. On Saturday afternoon, reps for the film announced a distribution deal for the film with Palm Pictures, nabbing the theatrical rights and Sundance Channel striking a pact for television. Palm will release the movie in theaters this Fall and will work with Sundance Channel to market the release.
Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” is the story of a teenager from Colombia who agrees to act as a drug mule to raise money for her family. The film is an HBO Films project that HBO and Fine Line will release theatrically as part of their joint distribution arrangement.
Kauffman & Briski’s “Born Into Brothels” is an HBO documentary that explores prostitution in Calcutta’s red light district.
In the world cinema category, the dramatic audience prize went to Jean-Francois Pouliot’s “Seducing Doctor Lewis,” while Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott’s “The Corporation” won the first doc audience prize in the world cinema section. Both movies are from Canada.
In the directing category, Morgan Spurlock was honored for his work on “Super Size Me,” while Debra Granik won the dramatic directing award for “Down To The Bone.” Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” explores fast food and obesity in America, while Granik’s film is the story of a woman who is struggling with a cocaine habit, a bad marriage and an affair.
Ferne Pearlstein won the doc cinematography prize for “Imelda,” while Nancy Schreiber won the dramatic cinematography award for “November.”
Sundance’s Freedom of Expression Award was presented to “Repatriation,” directed by Kim Dong-won. It honors a doc that “informs and educates the public on issues of social or political concern. The jury for that prize included Molly Haskell, Jorgen Leth, and Siven Maslamoney.
The 2004 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was awarded to Larry Gross for “We Don’t Live Here Anymore.”
The documentary jury, which included Rory Kennedy, Mary Ellen Mark, Robb Moss, Robert Shepard and Chris Smith, presented a special jury award to Catherine Tambiani & Carlos Sandoval’s “Farmingville.”
The dramatic jury, which included Lisa Cholodenko, Frederick Elmes, Danny Glover, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ted Hope, presented two special prizes, to Rodney Evans for “Brother to Brother” and to Vera Farmiga for her performance in “Down to the Bone.”
SUNDANCE SHORTS AND ONLINE WINNERS
The jury prize in short filmmaking was awarded to Shilpi Gupta for “When the Storm Came” and Ryan Fleck for “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” while the jury award for international short filmmaking went to Paul Catling’s “Tomo.” The short film jury, including Effie T. Brown, Spencer Parsons, and Peter Sollett, awarded honorable mentions to Jacob Akira Okada for “Curtis,” Adam Elliot for “Harvie Krumpet,” David LaChapelle for “Krumped,” Nicholas Provost for “Papillon D’Amour” and Larry Kennar for “Spokane.”
In the online category, Alex Budovsky won in the animation category for “Bathtime in Clerkenwell,” Jesse Epstein won in the short subject category for “Wet Dreams False Images,” while Carroll Parrott Blue & Kristy H.A. Kang won in the new forms gallery for “The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Texas Upbringing.”
The 10th Annual Slamdance Film Festival wrapped Friday night with the awards presentation at the Snow Park Lodge in Deer Valley. Brett Ingram’s “Monster Road” won the jury prize for best documentary, while “Homework,” directed by Kevin Asher Green, nabbed narrative feature honors. A special jjury prize for writing was awarded to Hurt McDermott for “Nightingale in a Music Box.” The jury also gave an award to “Goldfish Games” for best ensemble cast.
The Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography went to “Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse In Love,” directed by Elza Kephart. The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary was awarded to Elena Elmoznino’s “Freestyle,” while the Best Short Narrative went to Jeremy Saulnier’s “Crabwalk.” Additionally, the doc jury issued a statement of disappointment with a court injunction that prevented the public screening of “Factor8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal.”
The audience award for best film went to Scott Milam, Ken Harder and Todd Pottinger’s “Big City Dick,” while the audience prize for short film went to Matthew Mebane’s “Tackle Box.” The Spirit of Slamdance award went to David Zellner’s “The Virile Man,” while the Global Anarchy winner was Slowtron’s “Western State #3.”