2024 Sundance Film Festival Announces Award Winners

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2024 Sundance Film Festival Announces Award Winners
  • Today the jury and audience award-winning films for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival were announced during a ceremony at The Ray Theatre in Park City. The Awards Ceremony occurred two days before the conclusion of the Festival, taking place January 18–28, 2024, in person in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, with a selection of titles available online nationwide from January 25–28, 2024. This year marks the 40th edition of the Festival, bringing together audiences in Utah and beyond to celebrate Sundance’s rich history of supporting engaging new stories and groundbreaking independent artists. Live updates were shared on the Sundance Film Festival’s official social media accounts throughout the duration of the awards ceremony.  The award-winning films will screen in person and via the online Festival platform on Saturday, January 27, and Sunday, January 28. Tickets for all award-winning films are currently available at festival.sundance.org.  In the above photo:

    Top L–R: A New Kind of Wilderness, Sujo, Porcelain War

    Center L–R: In The Summers, Little Death, Ibelin

    Bottom L–R: Girls Will Be Girls, Daughters, Dìdi (弟弟)

    The jury and audience-awarded prizes include Grand Jury Prizes awarded to In The Summers (U.S. Dramatic Competition), Porcelain War (U.S. Documentary Competition), Sujo (World Cinema Dramatic Competition), and A New Kind of Wilderness (World Cinema Documentary Competition). The NEXT Innovator Award presented by Adobe was awarded to Little Death.

    Daughters received the Festival Favorite Award, which audiences select across all new feature films presented at the Festival. Audience Awards for films in competition were presented by Acura to Dìdi (弟弟) (U.S. Dramatic Competition) and Daughters (U.S. Documentary Competition), and presented by United Airlines to Girls Will Be Girls (World Cinema Dramatic Competition) and Ibelin (World Cinema Documentary Competition). Kneecap won the audience award for NEXT presented by Adobe.

    “This year was especially meaningful to all of us for being the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “We congratulate all of our artists in the program this year for their contributions to an incredible slate and Festival experience. Something we were pleasantly surprised by was how much room there was to look ahead during a time of reflection on our rich history as a launchpad for countless stories and artists that have shaped the culture over four decades. We celebrated that rich legacy while enjoying eleven days of meeting the visionaries of tomorrow. It was a joy to hear from audiences that were encountering stories that entertained, moved and challenged them.”

    “The past week has been a whirlwind in the best possible way, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be here at the Awards Ceremony celebrating our storytellers as we launch into the final weekend of the Festival.” said Eugene Hernandez, Director, Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming. “This is a great moment to appreciate what we’re thankful for: jurors who were committed to engaging with these works and who brought their own projects to the Festival at some point during our history, artists who were generous with their stories and their time, audiences eager to join the conversation, our home state hosting us, and our incredible staff and volunteers that make this event possible.”

    “Our Awards Ceremony is a great time to celebrate this endeavor we’re all passionate about: we’re united by these stories and by admiration for the bold and dedicated filmmakers bringing them to our community” added Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “These awards are an opportunity to highlight resonant works across the slate that will continue to find their audiences beyond Utah and beyond our online platform–to be entrusted with their first impressions is an honor for all of us at Sundance.”

    The awards announcement takes place near the conclusion of the 2024 Festival, where 91 feature length and episodic works and 53 short films — selected from 17,435 submissions — have been presented in Park City, Salt Lake City, and online, while over 60% of the feature films, plus Shorts and Indie Episodics, are available via the Festival’s online platform through Sunday, January 28.

    This year’s jurors were: Debra GranikAdrian Tomine, and Lena Waithe for U.S. Dramatic Competition; Shane BorisNicole Newnham, and Rudy Valdez for U.S. Documentary Competition; Anita GouMira Nair, and Rui Poças for World Cinema Dramatic Competition; Mandy ChangMonica Hellström, and Shaunak Sen for World Cinema Documentary Competition; Christina OhDanny Pudi, and Charlotte Regan for Short Film Program Competition; and Zal Batmanglij for the NEXT competition section.
    Feature film award winners in previous years include: A Thousand and One, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project, Scrapper, The Eternal Memory, Nanny, The Exiles, CODA, Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Flee, Hive, Minari, Boys State, Epicentro, Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness, ClemencyOne Child Nation, Honeyland, The SouvenirThe Miseducation of Cameron PostI Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, WeinerWhiplash, Fruitvale Station, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Searching for Sugarman, The Square, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Cartel Land, The Wolf Pack, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Dope, Dear White People, The Cove, and Man on Wire.
    The 2024 Sundance Film Festival awards are:
    GRAND JURY PRIZES
    The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to In The Summers / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alessandra Lacorazza, Producers: Alexander Dinelaris, Rob Quadrino, Fernando Rodriguez-Vila, Lynette Coll, Sergio Lira, Cristóbal Güell) — On a journey that spans the formative years of their lives, two sisters navigate their loving but volatile father during their yearly summer visits to his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cast: René Pérez Joglar, Sasha Calle, Lío Mehiel, Leslie Grace, Emma Ramos, Sharlene Cruz. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This film snuck up on us – like many great films do. We didn’t know where the journey would lead us, but by the time we landed on the final frame we knew we had experienced something truly mesmerizing. This film tells the story of a family that is broken, but refuses to give up on each other. A film like this can easily slip through the cracks and for that reason we have chosen to shed light on this beautiful piece of cinema and we hope it finds the audience it so well deserves. The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic goes to In The Summers.
    The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Porcelain War / U.S.A., Ukraine (Director and Screenwriter: Brendan Bellomo, Director: Slava Leontyev, Producers and Screenwriters: Aniela Sidorska, Paula DuPré Pesmen, Producers: Camilla Mazzaferro, Olivia Ahnemann) — Under roaring fighter jets and missile strikes, Ukrainian artists Slava, Anya, and Andrey choose to stay behind and fight, contending with the soldiers they have become. Defiantly finding beauty amid destruction, they show that although it’s easy to make people afraid, it’s hard to destroy their passion for living. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: Resisting totalitarian aggression is necessary but holding on to your humanity amidst the onslaught is the ultimate pursuit of good. The making of this film – a film full of pathos and violence, porcini and dragonlets – is in and of itself this pursuit. For its unwavering voice from inside the brutal war in Ukraine calling us to care about those who would sacrifice their lives to defend their humanity and ours, and since at present there is no Sundance Jury Award for best dog, the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary goes to Porcelain War.
    The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Sujo / Mexico, U.S.A., France (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Astrid Rondero, Fernanda Valadez, Producers: Diana Arcega, Jewerl Keats Ross, Virginie Devesa, Jean-Baptiste Bailly-Maitre) — When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable. Cast: Juan Jesús Varela, Yadira Pérez, Alexis Varela, Sandra Lorenzano, Jairo Hernández, Kevin Aguilar. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: A breathtaking film that created its own unique cinematic vocabulary – of a childhood born around violence yet protected by the embrace of women, strangers and family alike. The story came alive with extraordinary cinematography that captured a lyrical intensity of darkness, nature and aspiration. The filmmakers brought us a story as yet unseen, with an originality and power that is deeply affecting and transcendent. The winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic goes to Sujo.
    The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to A New Kind of Wilderness / Norway (Director: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, Producer: Mari Bakke Riise) — In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: Our jury was immersed in this story from start to finish. The film is embedded with deep humanism and a sensitivity and vulnerability that never veers into sentimentalism. Skillfully edited, beautifully filmed and scored with intimate access inside a very special family. It’s rare to see classically verite films of this caliber. The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary goes to A New Kind of Wilderness.
    NEXT INNOVATOR AWARD PRESENTED BY ADOBE
    The NEXT Innovator Award presented by Adobe was presented to Little Death / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jack Begert, Screenwriter: Dani Goffstein, Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Andy S. Cohen, Dylan Golden, Brendan Naylor, Sam Canter, Noor Alfallah) — A middle-aged filmmaker on the verge of a breakthrough. Two kids in search of a lost backpack. A small dog a long way from home. Cast: David Schwimmer, Gaby Hoffmann, Dominic Fike, Talia Ryder, Jena Malone, Sante Bentivoglio. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: At the festival, unlike the marketplace, you can watch films blind, devoid of the marketing dollars and spin, allowing you to experience them in their purest form. Led by a filmmaker skilled in construction and tailoring, we travel a path that bends, bucks and veers. I applaud these risks, the strong performances, the desire to wrestle with one’s own blind spots and the desire to eat your cake and then also have it. And why not. And why not at Sundance. The NEXT Innovator award goes to Little Death and its bold filmmaker.
    FESTIVAL FAVORITE AWARD
    Selected by audience votes from the feature films that screened at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, the Festival Favorite Award was presented to Daughters / U.S.A. (Directors: Angela Patton, Natalie Rae, Producers: Lisa Mazzotta, Justin Benoliel, Mindy Goldberg, Sam Bisbee, Kathryn Everett, Laura Choi Raycroft) — Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C., jail. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    AUDIENCE AWARDS
    The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura was awarded to Daughters / U.S.A. (Directors: Angela Patton, Natalie Rae, Producers: Lisa Mazzotta, Justin Benoliel, Mindy Goldberg, Sam Bisbee, Kathryn Everett, Laura Choi Raycroft) — Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C., jail. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura was awarded to Dìdi (弟弟) / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sean Wang, Producers: Carlos López Estrada, Josh Peters, Valerie Bush) — In 2008, during the last month of summer before high school begins, an impressionable 13-year-old Taiwanese American boy learns what his family can’t teach him: how to skate, how to flirt, and how to love your mom. Cast: Izaac Wang, Joan Chen, Shirley Chen, Chang Li Hua. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, Presented by United Airlines was awarded to Ibelin / Norway (Director: Benjamin Ree, Producer: Ingvil Giske) — Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer, died of a degenerative muscular disease at the age of 25. His parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life, when they started receiving messages from online friends around the world. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic, Presented by United Airlines was awarded to Girls Will Be Girls / India, France, Norway (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Shuchi Talati, Producers: Richa Chadha, Claire Chassagne) — In a strict boarding school nestled in the Himalayas, 16-year-old Mira discovers desire and romance. But her sexual, rebellious awakening is disrupted by her mother who never got to come of age herself. Cast: Preeti Panigrahi, Kani Kusruti, Kesav Binoy Kiron. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe was awarded to Kneecap / Ireland, U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Rich Peppiatt, Producers: Jack Tarling, Trevor Birney) — There are 80,000 native Irish speakers in Ireland. 6,000 live in the North of Ireland. Three of them became a rap group called Kneecap. This anarchic Belfast trio becomes the unlikely figurehead of a civil rights movement to save the mother tongue. Cast: Liam Óg Ó hAnnaidh, Naoise Ó Cairealláin, JJ Ó Dochartaigh, Michael Fassbender, Josie Walker, Simone Kirby). World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.
    JURY AWARDS FOR DIRECTING, SCREENWRITING & EDITING
    The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie for Sugarcane / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Julian Brave NoiseCat, Director and Producer: Emily Kassie, Producer: Kellen Quinn) — An investigation into abuse and missing children at an Indian residential school ignites a reckoning on the nearby Sugarcane Reserve. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: Benefiting from sensitive cinematography, careful producing, and editing that interweaves multiple narratives, these directors helped illuminate the urgency of history and the interconnected, multi-generational crimes experienced by a community. For its important voice for truth and healing, the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary goes to co-directors Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie for their film Sugarcane.
    The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Alessandra Lacorazza for In The Summers / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alessandra Lacorazza, Producers: Alexander Dinelaris, Rob Quadrino, Fernando Rodriguez-Vila, Lynette Coll, Sergio Lira, Cristóbal Güell) — On a journey that spans the formative years of their lives, two sisters navigate their loving but volatile father during their yearly summer visits to his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cast: René Pérez Joglar, Sasha Calle, Lío Mehiel, Leslie Grace, Emma Ramos, Sharlene Cruz. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This filmmaker’s specific vision left us in suspense and grabbed a hold of our hearts. The direction was consistently surprising with how it handled its characters’ flaws and how it navigated complicated relationships between children and their parents. We were also impressed with its handling of queerness on screen and forgiveness when it comes to imperfect parents. Though the film is quiet it is effective in its storytelling and for that we felt this director was worthy of this coveted award. The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic goes to Alessandra Lacorazza, In The Summers.
    The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Benjamin Ree for Ibelin / Norway (Director: Benjamin Ree, Producer: Ingvil Giske) — Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer, died of a degenerative muscular disease at the age of 25. His parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life, when they started receiving messages from online friends around the world. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: The director found a powerful form to fit the story, excavating a wondrous and enchanting secret life with real skill, to give us deep insight into the mind of the main character, opening up a world that was previously locked away. We love the film’s playful inventiveness, its emotion and depth. The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary goes to Benjamin Ree, with Ibelin.
    The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Raha Amirfazli and Alireza Ghasemi for In The Land Of Brothers / Iran, France, Netherlands (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Raha Amirfazli, Alireza Ghasemi, Producers: Adrien Barrouillet, Frank Hoeve, Charles Meresse, Emma Binet, Arya Ghamavian) — Three members of an extended Afghan family start their lives over in Iran as refugees, unaware they face a decades-long struggle ahead to be “at home.” Cast: Hamideh Jafari, Bashir Nikzad, Mohammad Hosseini. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This remarkable debut feature got under our skins and never let us go. The filmmakers had a masterful command of every aspect of the medium, and told the story with precision and poetry. Clear-eyed and courageous in its portrayal of everyday brutalities of refugee existence, the film brought humanity to each of its characters and allowed us to see ourselves in all of them. The winner of the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic goes to Raha Amirfazli and Alireza Ghasemi for In the Land of Brothers.
    The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Jesse Eisenberg for A Real Pain / U.S.A., Poland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jesse Eisenberg, Producers: Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Emma Stone, Jennifer Semler, Ewa Puszczyńska) — Mismatched cousins David and Benji reunite for a tour through Poland to honor their beloved grandmother. The adventure takes a turn when the pair’s old tensions resurface against the backdrop of their family history. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kieran Culkin, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Grey, Kurt Egyiawan. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: We felt this script was not only nuanced but extremely well balanced. The writer’s ability to marry darkness with comedy really impressed us. There were moments where we didn’t know if we should be laughing or crying. This poignant script featured a range of diverse voices that all rang true. We never knew where a sentence would land or where a character would end up – and that is why we felt the screenwriting should be highlighted and acknowledged with this prestigious award. The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award goes to Jesse Eisenberg, A Real Pain.
    The Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Carla Gutiérrez for FRIDA / U.S.A., Mexico (Director: Carla Gutiérrez, Producers: Katia Maguire, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Loren Hammonds, Alexandra Johnes) — An intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind, and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — and brought vividly to life by lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This film was directed with a strong, clear vision and its imaginative edit interweaves archival footage, photographs, images and animation to bring that vision to vivid life. The winner of the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary goes to Carla Gutiérrez for her film FRIDA.
    SPECIAL JURY AWARDS

    U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Sound was presented to Gaucho Gaucho / U.S.A., Argentina (Directors and Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw, Producers: Cameron O’Reilly, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Matthew Perniciaro) — A celebration of a community of Argentine cowboys and cowgirls, known as Gauchos, living beyond the boundaries of the modern world. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: Inside of each carefully crafted tableau, sound became a field of sensorial meaning and a register of the atmospherics of experience. For its cinematic and uncommon creation of this most intimate perceptual encounter, the winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Sound goes to Gaucho Gaucho.
    U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for the Art of Change was presented to Union / U.S.A. (Directors: Stephen Maing, Brett Story, Producers: Samantha Curley, Mars Verrone) — The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) — a group of current and former Amazon workers in New York City’s Staten Island — takes on one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies in the fight to unionize. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: Power has a way of making it feel like we have no choice but to accept gross injustice and inequity as a fact of life. Without oversimplifying the struggle – both inner and outer – this film reminds us that we do have a choice, that we can organize and fight for what is just. The Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for the Art of Change goes to Union.
    U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Ensemble was presented to the cast of Dìdi (弟弟) / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sean Wang, Producers: Carlos López Estrada, Josh Peters, Valerie Bush) — In 2008, during the last month of summer before high school begins, an impressionable 13-year-old Taiwanese American boy learns what his family can’t teach him: how to skate, how to flirt, and how to love your mom. Cast: Izaac Wang, Joan Chen, Shirley Chen, Chang Li Hua. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This cast worked together like a beautiful symphony. There were people of different ages and different levels of experience and yet this group of actors felt like they’d known and worked with each other forever. It is the chemistry between these actors that helped to give this film its sense of vibrancy and helped to bring to life the joys and pains of growing up. The U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble goes to the cast of Dìdi (弟弟): Izaac Wang, Joan Chen, Shirley Chen, and Chang Li Hua.
    U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance was presented to Nico Parker for Suncoast / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Laura Chinn, Producers: Jeremy Plager, Francesca Silvestri, Kevin Chinoy, Oly Obst) — A teenager who, while caring for her brother along with her audacious mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an eccentric activist who is protesting one of the most landmark medical cases of all time. Inspired by a semi-autobiographical story. Cast: Laura Linney, Woody Harrelson, Nico Parker. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: We felt this performance was not only nuanced and powerful, but it was also extremely impressive due to the fact that she had to share the screen with such seasoned actors and was tasked with being the center of such an emotionally charged film. We feel this performance should be highlighted and talked about for years to come. It is the definition of a breakthrough performance. And we look forward to seeing what she does next. The U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance goes to Nico Parker with Suncoast.
    World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Craft was presented to Nocturnes / India, U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Anirban Dutta, Director: Anupama Srinivasan) — In the dense forests of the Eastern Himalayas, moths are whispering something to us. In the dark of night, two curious observers shine a light on this secret universe. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: The images and sound in this film immediately invoke in the audience a meditative state as they enter the film’s world, at the same time bringing a laser focus to the film’s main subject. The confidence of the cinematography and sound design in building this story is part of its power and allure. The World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Craft goes to Nocturnes.
    World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Innovation was presented to  Johan Grimonprez for Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat / Belgium, France, Netherlands (Director and Screenwriter: Johan Grimonprez, Producers: Daan Milius, Rémi Grellety) — In 1960, United Nations: the Global South ignites a political earthquake, musicians Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach crash the Security Council, Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe denouncing America’s color bar, while the U.S. dispatches jazz ambassador Louis Armstrong to the Congo to deflect attention from its first African post-colonial coup. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This kaleidoscopic, impressionistic and at times wildly chaotic film uses form in a bold and ambitious way to grapple with a complex story. It bursts into our consciousness using multiple storytelling forms, taking a concealed history and making us see it differently. World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Innovation award goes to Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat.
    World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Original Music was presented to Peter Raeburn for Handling the Undead / Norway (Director and Screenwriter: Thea Hvistendahl, Screenwriter: John Ajvide Lindqvist, Producers: Kristin Emblem, Guri Neby) — On a hot summer day in Oslo, the newly dead awaken. Three families faced with loss try to figure out what this resurrection means and if their loved ones really are back. Based on the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Cast: Renate Reinsve, Bjørn Sundquist, Bente Børsum, Anders Danielsen Lie, Bahar Pars. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This propulsive and sweeping score achieved a haunting atmosphere that carried the emotional heartbeat of this indelible film. The journey through grief, love, and hope was expertly conveyed through the tender yet unsettling soundscape, creating space for existential questioning and catharsis for the audience. The winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Original Music goes to Peter Raeburn for Handling the Undead.

    World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to Preeti Panigrahi for Girls Will Be Girls / India, France, Norway (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Shuchi Talati, Producers: Richa Chadha, Claire Chassagne) — In a strict boarding school nestled in the Himalayas, 16-year-old Mira discovers desire and romance. But her sexual, rebellious awakening is disrupted by her mother who never got to come of age herself. Cast: Preeti Panigrahi, Kani Kusruti, Kesav Binoy Kiron. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: This luminous performance completely moved and surprised us, bringing to life a character with intelligence and vulnerability. In a film that dared to explore young female sexuality and agency with frankness and sweetness, this performance was delicate, uncompromising, and unforgettable. The winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting goes to Preeti Panigrahi in Girls Will Be Girls.
    Special Jury Award for NEXT presented by Adobe was presented to Desire Lines / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jules Rosskam, Screenwriter: Nate Gualtieri, Producers: André Pérez, Amy E. Powell, Brittani Ward) — Past and present collide when an Iranian American trans man time-travels through an LGBTQ+ archive on a dizzying and erotic quest to unravel his own sexual desires. Cast: Theo Germaine, Aden Hakimi. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public.
    Jury citation: With deep reservoirs of feeling and intellectual curiosity this filmmaker takes our hand and guides us through the bathhouse. The mythical one of history, the pedestrian one of the present and finally the promise of an inclusive, unguarded one of the future where the lines of desire intersect and bloom. But how can we get there without unearthing underground histories and looking at the rawness of our present? I salute this filmmaker’s boldness and care — a rare, potent combination. The NEXT Special Jury Award presented by Adobe goes to Desire Lines.
    PREVIOUSLY GRANTED 2024 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
    Jury prizes for short filmmaking were awarded on January 23 at the Short Awards & Party presented by Argo and WeShort at The Park in Park City:
    The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Alex Lora Cercos for The Masterpiece / Spain (Director and Producer: Alex Lora Cercos, Screenwriter and Producer: Lluis Quilez, Screenwriter: Alfonso Amador, Producers: Sandra Travé, Josemari Martínez, Néstor López) — Leo and Diana, a wealthy couple, meet Salif and Yousef, two scrap dealers, at a recycle center. Offering them more junk, Diana invites them to their mansion, but the immigrants actually might be the ones with something she wants. Cast: Daniel Grao, Babou Cham, Melina Matthews, Adam Nourou, Guido Grao. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: Being able to craft and express nuance in a 90+ minute feature is quite a feat, but to be able to do that in 20 minutes or less is a wildly impressive task. This short kept us on the edge of our seats, but also left us thinking about it and its commentary long after we left the theatre. From its writing, to its direction and performances, this film felt as if it was crafted by a team that’s been making stories together for a lifetime. The winner of the Short Film Grand Jury Prize is The Masterpiece, directed by Alex Lora Cercos.
    The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Kate Jean Hollowell for Say Hi After You Die / U.S.A. (Director: Kate Jean Hollowell, Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, Producer: Miranda Kahn) — A grieving woman believes her deceased best friend has come back to visit her… as a port-a-potty. Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: This film took us on an unexpected journey of grief, skillfully blending heartfelt moments with humor and a dash of the absurd. It made us appreciate true friendship and see porta potty’s in a new way.  The winner of the Short Film Jury Award for US Fiction is Say Hi After You Die, directed by Kate Jean Hollowell.

    The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: An Chu for The Stag / Taiwan (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: An Chu, Producer: Tzu-Yuan Wang) — At a deer farm in Changhua County, a middle-aged man is asked to cut off a stag’s antlers in front of his two kids. Cast: Yung-He Chen, Wei-Jen Chen, Si-Kai Chen. International Premiere. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: This quietly powerful film held on to our attention from the opening shot and it gave us a peek into a world we haven’t seen. The film is striking with beautifully composed scenes and at its center is a deeply moving story about a father trying to do the right thing for his kids. The winner of the Short Film Jury Award for International Fiction is The Stag, directed by An Chu.

    The Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction was presented to: Jack Dunphy for Bob’s Funeral / U.S.A (Director, Screenwriter, Animator, and Producer: Jack Dunphy) — Searching for the root of generational trauma, the director sneaks a camera into his estranged grandfather’s funeral. World Premiere. Available online for Public. 

    Jury citation: This film balances different tones and styles with the confidence of someone who has incredible control of storytelling. The vulnerability offered up by the family makes us, the audience, feel like they’re a part of the emotional journey in such a short space of time. The winner of the Short Film Jury Award for Nonfiction is Bob’s Funeral, directed by Jack Dunphy.

    The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Phoebe Jane Hart for Bug Diner / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Phoebe Jane Hart) — A dissatisfied marriage, a secret crush, and workplace fantasies come to a head in a diner run by a mole with a hot ass. Cast: Jacob Levy, Phoebe Hart. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: We didn’t stop laughing at this from start to finish. It has that magical effect of making you walk around all day with a smile on your face. The dialogue was incredibly written and the animation style was amazing… there’s also never been a better bug’s voice done on film. The winner of the Short Film Jury Award for Animation is Bug Diner, directed by Phoebe Jane Hart.

    Short Film Special Jury Prize for Directing was presented to: Masha Ko, for The Looming / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Masha Ko, Producers: Caroline Gluck, Andrey Nikolaev, Kolten Horner) — When a virtual home assistant speaker, Luna, picks up the strange noise Chester has heard in his house, he realizes that it may not be a symptom of dementia. Cast: Joseph Lopez, Kolten Horner, Brianne Buishas, Alyssa Nicole. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: Terrifyingly beautiful seems like an oxymoronic phrase, but this terrifying yet beautiful short left us deeply moved and served as a haunting reminder to not send your parents’ calls to voicemail. The winner of a Special Jury Prize for Directing goes to Masha Ko for The Looming.

    Short Film Special Jury Prize for Directing was presented to: Makoto Nagahisa for Pisko the Crab Child is in Love / Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa, Producer: Yasuo Suzuki) — Pisko’s father is a crab while her mother is human. Pisko falls in love with her teacher but is heartbroken when he leaves her because she is half-crab. Pisko finally finds love and companionship with her friend Kubokayo. Cast: Aiko Kano, Saya, Maki Fukuda, Kanta Sato. U.S. Premiere. Available online for Public.

    Jury citation: There is nothing more special than the utter joy that can be found in friendships built on pure love and acceptance. It is so rare to see such such delight captured in a frame, and we never thought we’d root so hard for a half-crab. The winner of a Special Jury Prize for Directing goes to Makoto Nagahisa for Pisko the Crab Child is in Love.

    The 2024 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, presented to an outstanding feature film about science or technology, was awarded to Love Me, screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category. The filmmakers received a $25,000 cash award from Sundance Institute with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
    The Sundance Institute | Amazon MGM Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction went to Toni Kamau for The Battle for Laikipia (World Cinema Documentary Competition) / Kenya, U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Daphne Matziaraki, Director: Peter Murimi, Producer: Toni Kamau) — Unresolved historical injustices and climate change raise the stakes in a generations-old conflict between Indigenous pastoralists and white landowners in Laikipia, Kenya, a wildlife conservation haven. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Sundance Institute | Amazon MGM Studios Producers Award for Fiction went to Brad Becker-Parton for Stress Positions (U.S. Dramatic Competition) / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Theda Hammel, Producers: Brad Becker-Parton, John Early, Stephanie Roush, Allie Jane Compton, Greg Nobile) — Terry Goon is keeping strict quarantine in his ex-husband’s Brooklyn brownstone while caring for his nephew — a 19-year-old model from Morocco named Bahlul — bedridden in a full leg cast after an electric scooter accident. Unfortunately for Terry, everyone in his life wants to meet the model. Cast: John Early, Qaher Harhash, Theda Hammel, Amy Zimmer, Faheem Ali, John Roberts. World Premiere. Available online for Public.
    The Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Nonfiction went to Kristina Motwani, and the Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Fiction went to Pamela Martin. The Sundance Institute | NHK Award went to Saim Sadiq for We Are Never Going to Die.

    The photo below is of our Reporter: Nina Ameri at one of The Sundance Film Festival’s Theaters: The Egyptian Theatre that is located at 328 Main Street in Park City, Utah: The Sundance Film Festival, is a program of the nonprofit, and the Sundance Institute, is the pre-eminent gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives. Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the Festival have gone on to gain critical acclaim and reach new audiences worldwide. The Festival has introduced some of the most groundbreaking films and episodic works of the past three decades, including Still: A Michael J. Fox MovieFair PlayA Thousand and OnePretty Baby: Brooke ShieldsRye LaneNavalnyFire of LoveFleeCODAPassingSummer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)MinariClemencyNever Rarely Sometimes AlwaysZolaO.J.: Made in AmericaOn the RecordBoys StateThe FarewellHoneyland, One Child NationThe SouvenirThe InfiltratorsSorry to Bother YouTop of the LakeWon’t You Be My Neighbor?HereditaryCall Me by Your NameGet OutThe Big SickMudboundFruitvale StationWhiplashBrooklynPreciousThe CoveLittle Miss SunshineAn Inconvenient TruthNapoleon DynamiteHedwig and the Angry InchReservoir Dogs, and sex, lies, and videotape. The program consists of fiction and nonfiction features and short films, series and episodic content, innovative storytelling, and performances, as well as conversations, and other events. The Festival takes place in person in Utah, as well as online, connecting audiences to bold new artists and films. The 2024 Festival will be held January 18–28, 2024. Be a part of the Festival at festival.sundance.org and follow the Festival on FacebookInstagramTikTokX (formerly Twitter), and YouTube.

    The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. To date 2024 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire®, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Audible, DIRECTV, Hulu, Ketel One Vodka, Omnicom Group, Shutterstock, United Airlines; Sustaining Sponsors – Canon U.S.A., Inc., Cotopaxi, DoorDash, Dropbox, Element[AL] Wines, World of Hyatt®, IMDb, MACRO, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – Deadline Hollywood, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, NPR, Variety, Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year round programs for independent artists. Please visit festival.sundance.org for more.

    As a champion and curator of independent stories, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from Sundance advisors and connect with each other in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling.

    Through the Sundance Institute artist programs, they have supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern WildThe Big SickBottle RocketBoys Don’t CryBoys StateCall Me by Your NameClemencyCODADrunktown’s FinestThe FarewellFire of LoveFleeThe Forty-Year-Old VersionFruitvale StationGet OutHalf NelsonHedwig and the Angry InchHereditaryHoneylandThe InfiltratorsThe Last Black Man in San FranciscoLittle WoodsLove & BasketballMe and You and Everyone We KnowMudboundNanny, NavalnyO.J.: Made in AmericaOne Child NationPariahRaising Victor VargasRequiem for a DreamReservoir DogsRBGSin NombreSorry to Bother YouThe SouvenirStrong IslandSummer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)Swiss Army ManSydneyA Thousand and OneTop of the LakeWalking and TalkingWon’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Zola. Through year-round artist programs, the Institute also nurtured the early careers of such artists as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Gregg Araki, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Ryan Coogler, Nia DaCosta, The Daniels, David Gordon Green, Miranda July, James Mangold, John Cameron Mitchell, Kimberly Peirce, Boots Riley, Ira Sachs, Quentin Tarantino, Taika Waititi, and Lulu. 

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