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SUNDANCE 2018 Shorts

Matria wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Shorts

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- Spain’s Álvaro Gago has taken home the top prize for short films

Matria wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Shorts
Matria by Álvaro Gago

Sundance 2018 has announced its short-film winners for 2018, with Spanish film Matria, directed by Álvaro Gago, walking away with the top honour, the Grand Jury Prize. This year’s programme consisted of 69 shorts selected from among 8,740 submissions. The short-film jurors were director Cherien Dabis, musician Shirley Manson and comic-book author Chris Ware.

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Matria follows a day in the life of a middle-aged woman who works in a draining and menial job at a seafood factory. The film explores her fretting about her granddaughter’s birthday while dealing with an uncaring husband and an employer who only cares about whether she gets her work done. Yet, despite the never-ending chaos of life, there is respite to be found in this testament to the power of extraordinary women.

Born in Galicia, Gago is a former student of the London Film School and has already made a number of well-regarded shorts. Speaking exclusively to Cineuropa after the win, Gago said: "What is to win Sundance? I haven’t realised yet. I’m having a hard time identifying how I feel. I know I’m extremely excited, but it hasn't sunk in fully yet. I just hope this contributes to tearing down one of the greatest myths that are currently alive in Galicia, and that is that our women are in power, that we live in a matriarchal society. It is not like that at all, and we need to seriously start talking about it. If this prize helps to spark a conversation around this issue, it will be the best news that I could ever have had."

Matria has already been shown at a select few European festivals, including the Zubroffka International Short Film Festival in Poland and the Valladolid International Film Festival, where it won Best Spanish Short Film. It will next be screened at the upcoming edition of Clermont-Ferrand, where it will be part of the festival’s International Competition.

Other winners in the Sundance Shorts section included the Macedonian film Will You Look at HerGoran Stolevski’s effort about a tomboy, which won the International Fiction Award; and the Georgian documentary The Trader by Tamta Gabrichidze, which won the Non-Fiction Award.

Here is the full list of short-film winners at Sundance 2018:

Short Film Grand Jury Prize
Matria – Álvaro Gago (Spain)

Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction 
Hair Wolf – Mariama Diallo (USA)

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
Would You Look at Her – Goran Stolevski (Macedonia)

Short Film Jury Award: Non-Fiction 
The Trader (Sovdagari) – Tamta Gabrichidze (Georgia)  

Short Film Jury Award: Animation 
Glucose – Jeron Braxton (USA)

Special Jury Award
Emergency – Carey Williams (USA)
Fauve – Jérémy Comte (Canada)
For Nonna Anna – Luis De Filippis (Canada)

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