Minari, Boys State take Grand Jury Prizes at Sundance

Tabitha Jackson named as new festival head

by Amber Wilkinson

Minari Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute
As the 2020 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, there was consensus between the audience and jury, with Lee Isaac Chung's Minari taking home the US Grand Jury Prize and the section's Audience Award. The film, which is semi-autobiographical, tells the story of a young Korean-American boy who moves to rural Arkansas with his family, including his quirky grandma.

The US Documentary Grand Jury Prize went to Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine's Boys State, which charts an experiment to build a representative government among Texas teenagers, while the Audience Award in the category was taken home by disability rights documentary Crip Camp, directed by Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham.

I Carry You With Me - charting a decades-spanning love story and  directed by Heidi Ewing - won the Next Audience and Innovator award.

In the World Competitions, the Grand Jury Prize went to Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness, directed by Massoud Bakhshi, about a woman who is sentenced to death for murdering her husband, while the Audience Award was given to Fernanda Valadez for Identifying Features (Sin Senas Particulares), which sees a mother searching for her son. The World Documentary Grand Jury Prize was taken home by Hubert Sauper's Epicentro, which offers reflections on modern Cuba. The Audience Award went to Jerry Rothwell for The Reason I Jump.

The evening also marked the last with festival director John Cooper at the helm. Tabitha Jackso0n - who previously held the post of director of the Sundance documentary programme for six years -  was named as his successor.

The full list of winners is below:


  • Grand Jury Prize Award: Lee Isaac Chung for Minari
  • Audience Award: Lee Isaac Chung for Minari
  • Directing Award: Radha Blank for The 40-Year-Old Version
  • Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Edson Oda for Nine Days
  • Special Jury Award for Auteur Filmmaking: Josephine Decker for Shirley
  • Special Jury Award: Neorealism: Eliza Hittman for Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  • Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast: Charm City Kings


  • Grand Jury Prize Award: Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine for Boys State
  • Audience Award: Nicole Newnham and Jim Lebrecht for Crip Camp
  • Directing Award: Garrett Bradley for Time
  • Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli Despres for The Fight
  • Special Jury Award for an Emerging Filmmaker: Arthur Jones for Feels Good Man
  • Special Jury Award for Editing: Tyler H. Walk for Welcome to Chechnya
  • Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling: Kirsten Johnson for Dick Johnson Is Dead


  • Grand Jury Prize: Massoud Bakhshi for Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness
  • Dramatic Directing Award: Maimouna Doucoure for Cuties
  • Audience Award: Fernanda Valadez for Identifying Features (Sin Senas Particulares)
  • Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay: Fernanada Valadez Astrid Rondero for Identifying Features (Sin Senas Particulares)
  • Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese for This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection
  • Special Jury Award for Acting: Ben Whishaw for Surge


  • Grand Jury Prize: Hubert Sauper's Epicentro
  • Audience Award: Jerry Rothwell for The Reason I Jump
  • Directing Award: Iryna Tsilyk's The Earth Is Blue As An Orange
  • Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling: Benjamin Ree for [film]The Painter And The Thief
  • Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc for Acasa, My Home
  • Special Jury Award for Editing: Mila Aung-Thwin, Sam Soko and Ryan Mullins for Softie


  • Audience Award: Heidi Ewing's I Carry You With Me
  • Innovator Award: Heidi Ewing's I Carry You With Me


  • Alfred P Sloan Feature Film Prize Michael Almereyda for Tesla


  • Grand Jury Prize: Sofia Alaoui for So What If The Goats Die
  • US Fiction: Terrance Daye for -Ship: A Visual Poem
  • International Fiction: Dylan Holmes Williams for The Devil’s Harmony
  • Non-Fiction: Matthew Killip for John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
  • Animation: Daria Kashcheeva for Daughter
  • Special Jury Award for Acting: Sadaf Asgari for Exam
  • Special Jury Award for Directing: Michael Arcos for Valerio’s Day Out

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