Sundance 2021 Winners: ‘CODA’ Wins Four Awards, Including Grand Jury Prize

"Summer of Soul" won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury and Audience awards.
Sundance Film Festival 2021 Winners List

The mostly virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close. The festival announced awards winners Tuesday night, trading an in-person ceremony for one broadcast live and hosted by Patton Oswalt. The biggest winner was Sian Heder’s coming of age drama “CODA,” which earned four U.S. Dramatic Competition awards, including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Other Big winners were “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” which took home the two top U.S. Documentary awards.

Blerta Basholli’s “Hive” won three awards in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition: the Directing and Audience awards and the Grand Jury Prize. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh’s “Writing with Fire” earned two World Cinema Documentary awards.

A total of 72 features screened over the last week, along with 50 shorts, four Indie Series, and 14 New Frontier VR/new media projects. Those projects were judged by a jury made up of Zeynep Atakan, Raúl Castillo, Ashley Clark, Julie Dash, Tacita Dean, Cynthia Erivo, Isaac Julien, Inge de Leeuw, Kim Longinotto, Laura Mulleavy, Kate Mulleavy, Joshua Oppenheimer, Mohamed Ouma Saïd, Jean Tsien, Daniela Vega, Lana Wilson, and Hanya Yanagihara.

Though this year marked the first virtual festival, the festival opened strong with a parade of buzzy titles that earned critical acclaim, including Heder’s drama about a deaf family and their hearing daughter, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated refugee documentary “Flee,” and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s music documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).”

Other standouts from later in the festival include Rebecca Hall’s racial drama “Passing,” Dash Shaw’s psychedelic animated tale “Cryptozoo,” and Jamila Wignot’s Alvin Ailey documentary “Ailey.”

The festival was strong from a sales perspective as well. Apple’s $25 million acquisition of “CODA” less than two days after it premiered smashed a sales record set last year. Neon picked up “Flee” and “Ailey,” while Sony Pictures Classics made another prominent theatrical pickup with “Jockey.”

More sales activity is expected in the coming days, as distributors remain engaged in bidding wars for several titles in need of distribution.

Below check out the complete list of winners.


Special Jury Award for Acting: Deanna Gibson, “Wiggle Room”

Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: Serhat Karaaslan, “The Criminals”

Jury Award, Animation: “Souvenir Souvenir,” dir. Bastien Dubois

Jury Award, Non-Fiction: “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma,” dir. Topaz Jones and rubberband

Jury Award, International Fiction: “Bambirak,” dir. Zamarin Wahdat

Jury Award, U.S. Fiction: “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” dir. Gregory Barnes

Grand Jury Prize: “Lizard,” dir. Akinola Davies Jr.


NEXT Audience Award Presented by Adobe: “Ma Belle, My Beauty,” dir. Marion Hill

NEXT Innovator Award Presented by Adobe: “Cryptozoo,” dir. Dash Shaw

World Cinema Documentary

Special Jury Award in Verite Filmmaking: “President,” dir. Camilla Nielsson

Special Jury Award: Impact for Change: “Writing With Fire,” dir. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Directing Award: Hogir Hirori, “Sabaya”

Grand Jury Prize: “Flee,” dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Audience Award: “Writing With Fire,” dir. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

World Cinema Dramatic

Special Jury Award for Acting: Jesmark Scicluna, “Luzzu”

Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: “One for the Road,” dir. Baz Poonpiriya

Directing Award: Blerta Basholli, “Hive”

Grand Jury Prize: “Hive,” dir. Blerta Basholli

Audience Award: “Hive,” dir. Blerta Basholli

US Documentary

Audience Award: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: “Cusp,” dir. Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt

Special Jury Award for Nonfiction Experimentation: “All Light, Everywhere,” dir. Theo Anthony

Jonathan Oppenhein Editing Award: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno, “Homeroom”

Directing Award: Natalia Almada, “Users”

Grand Jury Prize: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

US Dramatic

Audience Award: “CODA,” dir. Sian Heder

Special Jury Award for Acting: Clifton Collins Jr., “Jockey”

Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble: “CODA”

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, “On the Count of Three”

Directing Award: Sian Heder, “CODA”

Grand Jury Prize: “CODA,” dir. Sian Heder

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