Sundance winners, clockwise from top left, CODA, Summer of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Flee, Ma Belle, My Beauty, Writing With Fire and Hive Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute, Mass Distraction Media, Alexander Bloom
The US Grand Jury Prizes for the Dramatic and Documentary sections went to Sian Heder's CODA and Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.
Heder's coming-of-age tale about a Child of Deaf Adults finding herself torn between the love of her family and her own aspirations also took home the Best Directing and Audience awards along with a Special Jury Prize for the ensemble cast, including Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur.
Summer Of Soul, which documents the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969, that was attended by 300,000 in the same summer as Woodstock, also pulled off the double by winning the Audience Award.
The World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary awards went to Blerta Basholi's Hive and Jonas Poher Rasmussen for Flee, respectively.
Hive - which also won its section's Audience Award — considers a woman's fight for independence after her husband is left missing, presumed dead, in the war in Kosovo, while Rasmussen's animation recounts one refugee's flight from Afghanistan to Sweden, articulating the traumatic legacy it has left him with as well as the journey itself. The Audience Award for documentary went to Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh for Writing With Fire, which considers the success and work of an Indian news organisation set up by Dalit women, fighting the stigma of being considered "untouchables" in their homeland.
Marion Hill's Ma Belle, My Beauty, about newlyweds adjusting to their new life in France whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of an ex from their once three-way relationsihp.
Sundance Institute CEO Keri Putnam said: “This has been a singular Festival for a singular moment. We’ve been able to elevate independent art and celebrate a wonderful slate of films by gathering in new ways, ways that worked thanks to adventurous audiences everywhere, eager to connect and engage with the work and with one another. Watching people come together to connect and discuss exciting new work has been incredibly rewarding – and a resounding confirmation that great independent storytelling inspires rich conversation.”
“This was not a ‘virtual’ festival, it was a real festival and the power of these artists and their work was what made it so,” added Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson, “It has been a privilege to help this work meet new audiences and enter the culture with such fanfare, especially now, when breaking through the noise is harder than ever.”
The festival screened 73 feature-length and 50 short films — selected from more than 14,000 submissions — were showcased online via the Festival’s custom-built online platform, as well as in 28 Satellite Screen locations across the US.
This year’s feature film jurors were Julie Dash, Cynthia Erivo, Hanya Yanagihara, Ashley Clark, Joshua Oppenheimer, Lana Wilson, Zeynep Atakan, Isaac Julien, Daniela Vega, Kim Longinotto, Mohamed Saïd Ouma, and Jean Tsien. Kate and Laura Mulleavy served as co-jurors for NEXT. Shorts jurors were Raúl Castillo, Tacita Dean and Inge de Leeuw. A newly-created award, the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award for US Documentary, has been created to memorialise the late editor.
The full list of winners is below:
US Grand Jury Prize: Documentary Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), USA, dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
US Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic CODA (USA), dir. Sian Heder
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary Flee (Denmark-France-Sweden-Norway), dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Hive (Kosovo-Switzerland-Macedonia-Albania), dir. Blerta Basholli
Audience Award: US Documentary Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Audience Award: US Dramatic CODA (USA), dir. Sian Heder
Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic Hive (Kosovo-Switzerland-Macedonia-Albania), dir. Blerta Basholli
Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary Writing With Fire (India), dirs. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh
NEXT Audience Award Ma Belle, My Beauty (USA-France), dir. Marion Hill
Special Jury Awards
US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast CODA (USA), dir. Sian Heder
US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Actor Clifton Collins Jr, Jockey (USA)
US Documentary Special Jury Award: Emerging Filmmaker Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt, Cusp (USA)
US Documentary Special Jury Award: Nonfiction Experimentation Theo Anthony, All Light, Everywhere (USA)
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking Camilla Nielsson, President (Denmark-USA-Norway)
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, Writing With Fire (India)
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting Jesmark Scicluna, Luzzu (Malta)
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision One For The Road (China-Hong Kong-Thailand), dir. Baz Poonpiriya
NEXT Innovator Prize Cryptozoo (USA), dir. Dash Shaw
Directing, Screenwriting And Editing Awards
Directing Award: US Documentary Natalia Almada, Users (USA-Mexico)
Directing Award: US Dramatic Sian Heder, CODA (USA)
Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary Hogir Hirori, Sabaya (Sweden)
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic Blerta Basholli, Hive (Kosovo-Switzerland-Macedonia-Albania)
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, On The Count Of Three (USA)
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno, Homeroom (USA)
Short Film Awards
Short Film Grand Jury Prize Lizard (UK), dir. Akinola Davies
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction The Touch Of The Master’s Hand (USA), dir. Gregory Barnes.
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction Bambirak (USA-Germany), dir. Zamarin Wahdat
Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma (USA-Germany-France-Italy), dirs. Topaz Jones, rubberband
Short Film Jury Award: Animation Souvenir Souvenir (France), dir. Bastien Dubois
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting Wiggle Room (USA), dirs. Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Short Film Special Jury Award for Screenwriting The Criminals (France-Romania-Turkey), dir. Serhat Karaaslan
Previously Announced Awards
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize Son of Monarchs.
Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction Nicole Salazar, Philly D.A.
Amazon Studios Producers Award for Fiction Natalie Qasabian, Run
Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Nonfiction Juli Vizza
Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Fiction Terilyn Shropshire
NHK Award Meryman Joobeur, Motherhood