2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners Officially Announced
by Alex Billington
January 30, 2011
The official awards for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival were announced tonight at a ceremony in Park City. The Sundance awards are always very interesting to follow, because the winners are either completely unexpected or totally deserving, and we've got quite a mix of both this year. However, the big winner and my personal favorite of this year's fest is Drake Doremus' Like Crazy, a wonderfully touching relationship drama that could very well be this year's Blue Valentine (that's Doremus above winning the award). The full list of winners, including the five Audience Awards, can be found below. Congrats Drake, you deserve it.
2011 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL JURY AWARDS:
The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus; written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship.
The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to How to Die in Oregon, directed by Peter D. Richardson. In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon gently enters the lives of terminally ill Oregonians to illuminate the power of death with dignity.
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Happy, Happy (Sykt Lykkelig), directed by Anne Sewitsky; written by Ragnhild Tronvoll. A perfect housewife, who just happens to be sex-starved, struggles to keep her emotions in check when an attractive family moves in next door.
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Hell and Back Again, directed by Danfung Dennis. Told through the eyes of one Marine from the start of his 2009 Afghanistan tour to his distressing return and rehabilitation in the U.S., we witness what modern "unconventional" warfare really means to the men who are fighting it.
The Directing Award: Documentary was presented to Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, directed by Jon Foy. An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.
The Directing Award: Dramatic was presented to Martha Marcy May Marlene, directed and written by Sean Durkin. Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
The World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary was presented to Project Nim, directed by James Marsh, who explores the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who was taught to communicate with language as he was raised and nurtured like a human child.
The World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was presented to Tyrannosaur, directed and written by Paddy Considine. For a man plagued by self-destructive violence and rage, a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker with a devastating secret of her own.
The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was presented to Another Happy Day, directed and written by Sam Levinson, about a pair of reckless siblings who are dragged into a chaotic family wedding by their overwrought mother.
The World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented to Restoration, directed by Yossi Madmony; written by Erez Kav-El, about an antique furniture restorer, who, aided by a young and mysterious apprentice, struggles to keep his workshop alive, while his relationship with his own estranged son, who is trying to close down the shop, begins to disintegrate.
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: Dramatic was presented to Pariah, directed and written by Dee Rees; cinematographer: Bradford Young. When forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family, a Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and endures heartbreak in a desperate search for sexual expression.
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary was presented to The Redemption of General Butt Naked, directed by Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion; cinematographers: Eric Strauss, Ryan Hill and Peter Hutchens. A brutal warlord who murdered thousands during Liberia's horrific 14-year civil war renounces his violent past and reinvents himself as an Evangelist, facing those he once terrorized.
A Special Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, directed by Constance Marks, an inspirational film that crosses cultures and generations
A Special Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Another Earth, directed by Mike Cahill; written by Mike Cahill and Brit Marling. On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, a horrible tragedy irrevocably alters the lives of two strangers, who begin an unlikely love affair.
A Special Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Felicity Jones for her role in Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus; written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship.
Another Earth, written and directed by Mike Cahill, is the recipient of this year's Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. The Prize, which carries a $20,000 cash award by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.
2011 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AUDIENCE AWARDS:
The Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to Circumstance, directed and written by Maryam Keshavarz, in which a wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain a teenager's growing sexual rebellion and her brother's dangerous obsession.
The Audience Award: Documentary was presented to Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl, for her story about the power of non-violence and master horse trainer Buck Brannaman, who uses principles of respect and trust to tame horses and inspire their human counterparts.
The World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary was presented to Senna, directed by Asif Kapadia; written by Manish Pandey, about legendary racing driver and Brazilian hero Ayrton Senna, taking us on the ultimate journey of what it means to become the greatest when faced with the constant possibility of death.
The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to Kinyarwanda, directed and written by Alrick Brown, which tells the story of Rwandans who crossed the lines of hatred during the 1994 genocide, turning mosques into places of refuge for Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis.
The Best of NEXT!: Audience Award was presented to to.get.her, directed and written by Erica Dunton about five girls who come together for one fateful night where anything goes. They all had secrets, but their friendship was the only thing they knew to be true.
Congratulations to all of this year's winners, especially Like Crazy! That really was my favorite film of the festival (that I saw) and I couldn't be happier for it. I suggest everyone also keep their eyes on the Audience Awards winners, as they're the ones that you will want to see, though all of these are great films. As always, you can find all of our coverage from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival right here. Until Sundance next year!