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SUNDANCE 2020 Awards

European co-productions win big at Sundance

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- On a night when 28 feature-film awards were handed out, the gathering also announced the appointment of British-born Tabitha Jackson to the role of festival director

European co-productions win big at Sundance
Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness by Massoud Bakhshi

The four Grand Jury Prizes are the top gongs at the Sundance Film Festival, which has just come to a close. There are two dramatic and two documentary Grand Jury trophies, further split between US and world cinema productions. There were many happy flights back across the Atlantic for European executives, who can now say that their films were victorious at the prestigious gathering.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was awarded to Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Massoud Bakhshi
film profile
]
, Massoud Bakhshi’s drama about a woman sentenced to death in Iran for killing her husband. The film received support from France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. 

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Epicentro [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, Hubert Sauper’s affectionate look at Cuba, its people and its history, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary. The film received support from France and Austria.

The Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary went to Jerry Rothwell’s The Reason I Jump [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
. The UK-US movie, based on the book by Naoki Higashida, explores the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people around the world.

The Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic went to Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, set on the Mexican-US border. Fernanda Valadez helmed the Spanish-Mexican production.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was won by Iryna Tsilyk, for The Earth Is Blue as an Orange [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Iryna Tsilyk
film profile
]
, a feature about filmmaking set amid the war in Ukraine. The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic went to Maïmouna Doucouré for Cuties [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, about young dancers in France.

Several European producers were involved in films that won Special Jury Awards. The productions crowned with these were Surge, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Identifying Features, The Painter and the Thief [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
and Acasă, My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

Finally, Tabitha Jackson will be the new Sundance festival director, succeeding John Cooper. British-born Jackson had been working as head of the Documentary Film programme. Her previous roles include head of Arts and Performance at Channel 4.

Here is the full list of winners at Sundance 2020:

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Grand Jury Prize
Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Massoud Bakhshi
film profile
]
- Massoud Bakhshi (Iran/France/Germany/Switzerland/Luxembourg)

Directing Award
Maïmouna Doucouré - Cuties [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(France)

Special Jury Award for Acting
Ben Whishaw - Surge (UK)

Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay
Fernanda Valadez, Astrid Rondero - Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Mexico/Spain)

Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho/South Africa/Italy)

Audience Award
Identifying Features - Fernanda Valadez

World Cinema Documentary Competition

Grand Jury Prize
Epicentro [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Hubert Sauper (Austria/France/USA)

Directing Award
Iryna Tsilyk - The Earth Is Blue as an Orange [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Iryna Tsilyk
film profile
]
(Ukraine/Lithuania)

Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling
The Painter and the Thief [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Benjamin Ree (Norway)

Special Jury Award for Cinematography
Radu Ciorniciuc - Acasă, My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Romania/Germany/Finland)

Special Jury Award for Editing
Mila Aung-Thwin, Ryan Mullins, Sam Soko - Softie (Kenya)

Audience Award
The Reason I Jump [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Jerry Rothwell (UK/USA)

US Dramatic

Grand Jury Prize
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung (USA)

Directing Award
Radha Blank - The 40-Year-Old Version (USA)

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Edson Oda - Nine Days (USA)

Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast
Charm City Kings - Angel Manuel Soto (USA)

Special Jury Award for Auteur Filmmaking
Shirley - Josephine Decker (USA)

US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Neo-Realism
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - Eliza Hittman (USA)

Audience Award
Minari - Lee Isaac Chung

US Documentary

Grand Jury Prize
Boys State - Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine (USA)

Directing Award 
Garrett Bradley - Time (USA)

Special Jury Award for Editing
Tyler H Walk - Welcome to Chechnya (USA)

Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling
Dick Johnson Is Dead – Kirsten Johnson (USA)

Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker
Feels Good Man – Arthur Jones (USA)

Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking
The Fight – Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres (USA)

Audience Award
Crip Camp - Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht (USA)

NEXT

Audience Award
I Carry You With Me - Heidi Ewing (USA/Mexico)

Innovator Prize
I Carry You With Me - Heidi Ewing (USA/Mexico)

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