Sundance 2019: Awards Night

February 9th, 2019
Sundance 2019: Awards Night

As is the case every year, the second Saturday of the Sundance Film Festival ended in a highly anticipated awards ceremony.  With acquisitions and career futures on the line, the stakes don’t get much higher.  Yet, in the spirit of the Sundance Institute, the atmosphere of the festivities is far from competitive.  Undoubtedly, many leave disappointed, but getting into Sundance is in itself an achievement, which sources a current of deep and mutual respect among the filmmakers.  Whether an audience, or a jury for that matter, responds to  a film is entirely subjective  and out of the filmmaker’s control, so why not support one another?   Therefore in that same spirit of Sundance, we invite you to celebrate those that took home awards for their work…and those who didn’t.

2019 Sundance Film Festival Awards Night. photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

The only true guarantee in the awards for each category are the Audience Award, the Grand Jury Prize (essentially Best Picture), and the Best Direction Prize, (or in the case of NEXT, the Innovator Award).  The audiences at Sundance are given ballots as they enter a theatre to rank a film “Fair, Good, Better, or Best” upon leaving. Any other “Special Grand Jury” awards are at the discretion of the jury.  If they find a film has a quality worth celebrating, they create an award to honor the filmmaker responsible.  Here’s how the night panned out.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: The Souvenir, directed by Joanna Hogg.  (Acquired by 1091 Media formerly The Orchard)

Tom Burke and Honor Swinton Byrne appear in The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Agatha A. Nitecka.

World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: Queen of Hearts, directed by May El-Toukh

Director May el-Toukhy and actor Trine Dyrhom accept the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award for Queen of Hearts by May el-Toukhy. The two had already left Park City to show their film at another festival but sent a video acceptance speech. Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jemal Countess.

World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award: The Sharks, directed by Lucia Garibaldi

Director Lucía Garibaldi accepts the award for the World Cinema Dramatic Award for Directing for The Sharks. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jemal Countess.

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Monos, directed by Alejandro Landes (Acquired by Neon)

Alejandro Landes accepts a Special Jury Award for Monos. photo by Graham Ehlers Sheldon

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Originality: We Are Little Zombies, directed by Makoto Nagahisa

Arguably, the happiest human of the night: Makoto Nagahisa. photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting: Krystyna Janda, Dolce Fine Giornata

Krystyna Janda (left) appears in Dolce Fine Giornata by Jacek Borcuch, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Sonia Szstak.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize: Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Tamara Kotevska, one half of the directing team of Honeyland. photo by Graham Ehlers Sheldon

World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani

A still from Sea of Shadows by Richard Ladkani. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Richard Ladkani.

World Cinema Documentary Directing Award: Cold Case Hammarskjold, directed by Mads Brugger

Producer Peter Engel accepts the award on behalf of director Mads Bruegger for the World Cinema Documentary Award for Directing for Cold Case Hammarskjöld. Courtesy of  Sundance Institute | photo by Jemal Countess.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders: Midnight Traveler, directed by Hassan Fazzili

Producers Su Kim and Emilie Mahdavian accept the award on behalf of director Hassan Fazzili for the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Midnight Traveller by Hassan Fazzili © 2019 Sundance Institute | photo by Jemal Countess.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact for Change: Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma, the Macedonian cinematography duo for Honeyland. Feimi Daut was stung several times during filming. Samir was stung only once.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Honeyland, cinematographers Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

Samir Ljuma accepts the World Documentary Special Jury award for Cinematography. Photo by Graham Sheldon

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize Award: One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang.  (Acquired by Amazon) 
U.S. Documentary Audience Award: Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (Acquired by Netflix)

A still from Knock Down The House by Rachel Lears, Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Rachel Lears

U.S. Documentary Directing Award: American Factory, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. (Acquired by Netflix)

Directors Bognar and Reichert share a kiss on the Sundance Stage after winning the Best Direction Award in their category.  photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency: Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

Always in Season director Jacqueline Olive.  photo by Graham Ehlers Sheldon

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for an Emerging Filmmaker: Jawline, directed by Liza Mandelup

Liza Mandelup, director of Jawline. Photo by Graham Ehlers Sheldon

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Apollo 11, edited by Todd Douglas Miller (Acquired by Neon)

Editor Todd Douglas Miller accepts award for Apollo 11. photo by Graham Ehlers Sheldon

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Midnight Family, cinematographer Luke Lorentzen.

Luke Lorentzen is also the director of Midnight Family. Still Courtesy of the Sundance Institute. Image by Luke Lorentzen

NEXT: The Infiltrators swept both the Innovator and the Audience Award.

Maynor Alvarado and Manuel Uriza appear in The Infiltrators by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lisa Rinzler.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

U.S. Dramatic Audience Award: Brittany Runs a Marathon, directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo

Director of the comedy Brittany Runs A Marathon, Paul Down Colaizzo. photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

U.S. Dramatic Directing Award: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, directed by Joe Talbot

Joe Talbot dedicates his award to his life-long best friend, collaborator Jimmie Falls and to “all of the people trying to stay in San Francisco.”

U.S. Dramatic Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Share, screenplay by Pippa Bianco

Pippa Bianco accepts the coveted Screenwriting Award for ,Share, which she also directed.

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Vision and Craft: Honeyboy, directed by Alma Har’el

Alma directed Shia LeBeouf’s script based on his real life experiences with his father and rehabilitation.

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Creative Collaboration: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, directed by Joe Talbot.

Actor Jimmie Falls accepts the award for Collaboration on behalf of The Last Black Man in San Francisco team. photo by.Graham Ehlers Sheldon.

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting: Rhianne Barreto, Share. (Acquired by HBO Films in association with A24.)

Rhianne Barreto appears in Share by Pippa Bianco. Still courtesy of Sundance Institute

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Award: Clemency, directed by Chinonye Chukwu (presented by Damien Chazelle)

Chinonye Chukwu receives the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize for her film Clemency Photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

Curious about who decides the winners?  This year’s jurors were Desiree Akhavan, Damien Chazelle, Dennis Lim, Phyllis Nagy, Tessa Thompson, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Yance Ford, Rachel Grady, Jeff Orlowski, Alissa Wilkinson, Jane Campion, Charles Gillibert, Ciro Guerra, Maite Alberdi, Nico Marzano, Véréna Paravel, Young Jean Lee, Carter Smith, Sheila Vand, and Laurie Anderson…and of course, the over 125,000 film fanatics who attended the festival.

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