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Sundance 2008 Jury Award Winners

Sundance 2008 Jury Award Winners

indieWIRE has the full list of jury prize recipients for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. My thoughts on select awards after the jump.

Both the World Cinema Jury Prize and the World Cinema Cinematography Award go to King of Ping Pong. I can’t deny that the film looks good, but this seems to be quite a bit more legitimacy than it deserves on the whole.

Audience Award: Dramatic is given to The Wackness. Stay tuned for our podcast placing Jonathan Levine’s second film in the same ad-hoc genre as Southland Tales and I Know Who Killed Me.

Anywhere, U.S.A., directed by Chusy Haney-Jardin, earns a Special Jury prize for the Spirit of Independence. I know one person who loves this film. I know several who walked out. Joe and Ronnie devoted a portion of one of their video episodes to cryptically detailing its failures.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired takes a special award for editing. I have my problems with the film’s attitude, but I can’t deny that it’s extremely well put-together.

Trouble the Water earns the Grand Jury Prize for documentary. My review of this film is forthcoming, so I don’t know how much I want to say. It’s certainly not the best non-fiction film I saw at Sundance, but in this climate where issues handily trump documentary filmmaking craft, it’s easy to see how it could come out on top.

Whilst Frozen River, a film which, like The Wackness, seemed to split audiences and critics evenly down the middle, took the Grand Jury Dramatic prize, Ballast––which earned near-universal critical praise–takes home a bevy of consolation prizes. Lol Crawley’s excellence in cinematography award for Ballast is well-deserved, as the film manages the near-impossible task of presenting an always-bleak environment, without ever making it ugly. And Lance Hammer certainly deserves an award for getting those performances from that method. Maybe in the end, the two awards will give Ballast the little push it needs to secure distribution, but I’d still love to have some insight into how the jury ultimately picked Frozen as the “better” film.

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