2012 Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' takes home the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, while 'The House I Live In' wins Documentary Grand Jury Prize.
Beasts of the Southern Wild wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance
Beasts of the Southern Wild wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance
Sundance Institute this evening announced the Jury, Audience, NEXT <=> and other special awards of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival at the Festival's Awards Ceremony, hosted by Parker Posey in Park City, Utah. An archived video of the ceremony in its entirety is available at Sundance.org/Live.

"Every year the Sundance Film Festival brings to light exciting new directions and fresh voices in independent film, and this year is no different," said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. "While these awards further distinguish those that have had the most impact on audiences and our jury, the level of talent showcased across the board at the Festival was really impressive, and all are to be congratulated and thanked for sharing their work with us."

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, "As we close what was a remarkable 10 days of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, we look to the year ahead with incredible optimism for the independent film community. As filmmakers continue to push each other to achieve new heights in storytelling we are excited to see what's next."

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival Awards presented this evening were:


The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Charles Ferguson to:


  • The House I Live In / U.S.A. (Director: Eugene Jarecki) - For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet, drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong and what is the path toward healing?


The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Justin Lin to:




The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Nick Fraser to:


  • The Law in These Parts / Israel (Director: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz) - Israel's 43-year military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories unfolds through provocative interviews with the system's architects and historical footage showing the enactment of these laws upon the Palestinian population.


The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Julia Ormond to:




The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura, was presented by Mike Birbiglia to:


  • The Invisible War / U.S.A. (Director: Kirby Dick) - An investigative and powerfully emotional examination of the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it.


The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura, was presented by Mike Birbiglia to:


  • The Surrogate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin) - Mark O'Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist in an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he contacts a professional sex surrogate to take him on a journey to manhood. Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy.


The World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary was presented by Edward James Olmos to:


  • Searching for Sugar Man / Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul) - Rodriguez was the greatest '70s US rock icon who never was. Hailed as the greatest recording artist of his generation he disappeared into oblivion - rising again from the ashes in a completely different context many miles away.


The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented by Edward James Olmos to:


  • Valley of Saints / India, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Musa Syeed) - Gulzar plans to run away from the war and poverty surrounding his village in Kashmir with his best friend, but a beautiful young woman researching the dying lake leads him to contemplate a different future Cast: Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Afzal, Neelofar Hamid.


The Best of NEXT <=> Audience Award, Presented by Adobe Systems Incorporated, was presented by Tim Heidecker to:




The U.S. Directing Award: Documentary was presented by Fenton Bailey to:


  • The Queen of Versailles / U.S.A. (Director: Lauren Greenfield) - Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America - a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles - when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.


The U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic was presented by Lynn Shelton to:




The World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary was presented by Jean-Marie Teno to:


  • 5 Broken Cameras / Palestine, Israel, France (Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi) - A Palestinian journalist chronicles his village's resistance to a separation barrier being erected on their land and in the process captures his young son's lens on the world.


The World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was presented by Aleksei Popogrebsky to:




The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was presented by Anthony Mackie to:




The World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented by Richard Pena to:




The U.S. Documentary Editing Award was presented by Kim Roberts to:


  • Detropia / U.S.A. (Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady) - The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.


The World Cinema Documentary Editing Award was presented by Clara Kim to:




The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Tia Lessin to:


  • Chasing Ice / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) - Science, spectacle and human passion mix in this stunningly cinematic portrait as National Geographic photographer James Balog captures time-lapse photography of glaciers over several years providing tangible visual evidence of climate change.


The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Amy Vincent to:




The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary was presented by Jean-Marie Teno to:


  • Putin's Kiss / Denmark (Director: Lise Birk Pedersen) - 19-year-old Marsha is a model spokesperson in a strongly nationalistic Russian youth movement that aims to protect the country from its enemies. When she starts recognizing the organization's flaws, she must take a stand for or against it.


The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic was presented by Aleksei Popogrebsky to:




A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for an Agent of Change was presented by Heather Croall to:




A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance was presented by Heather Croall to:


  • Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry / U.S.A., China (Director: Alison Klayman) - Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations and increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government.


A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing was presented by Cliff Martinez to:




A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting was presented by Cliff Martinez to:


  • The Surrogate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin) - Mark O'Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist in an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he contacts a professional sex surrogate to take him on a journey to manhood. Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy.


A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Artistic Vision was presented by Clara Kim to:




A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for its Celebration of the Artistic Spirit was presented by Richard Pena to:


  • Searching for Sugar Man / Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul) - Rodriguez was the greatest '70s US rock icon who never was. Hailed as the greatest recording artist of his generation he disappeared into oblivion - rising again from the ashes in a completely different context many miles away.


The inaugural Short Film Audience Award, Presented by Yahoo!, based on online voting for nine short films that premiered at the Festival and are currently featured on Yahoo! Screen, was presented to:


  • The Debutante Hunters (Director: Maria White) - In the Lowcountry of South Carolina a group of true Southern belles reveal their more rugged side, providing a glimpse into what drives them to hunt in the wild.


The following awards were presented at separate ceremonies at the Festival:


The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking was awarded to: Fishing Without Nets / U.S.A. (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey). The Jury Prize in Short Film, U.S. Fiction was presented to: The Black Balloon / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie). The Jury Prize in Short Film, International Fiction was presented to: The Return (Kthimi) / Kosovo (Director: Blerta Zeqiri, Screenwriter: Shefqet Gjocaj). The Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction was presented to: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker). The Jury Prize in Animated Short Film was presented to: A Morning Stroll / United Kingdom (Director: Grant Orchard). A Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling was presented to: The Arm / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis). A Special Jury Award for Animation Direction was presented to: Robots of Brixton / United Kingdom (Director: Kibwe Tavares).

The winning directors and projects of the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world, are: Etienne Kallos / Vrystaat (Free State) (South Africa); Ariel Kleiman / Partisan (Australia); Dominga Sotomayor / Tarde Para Morir Joven (Late To Die Young) (Chile); and Shonali Bose / Margarita. With a Straw (India).

The Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award, honoring and supporting emerging filmmakers, was presented to Jens Assur, director of the upcoming film Close Far Away.

The inaugural Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award for a completed feature film was presented to The Island President, directed by Jon Shenk. The in-process feature film award was presented to Solar Mamas, directed by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief. Each project received $25,000.

The inaugural Sundance Institute Indian Paintbrush Producer's Award and $10,000 grant was presented to Dan Janvey and Josh Penn for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

The Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prizes, presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character, were presented to Robot and Frank, directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher D. Ford, and Valley of Saints, directed and written by Musa Syeed. The two films will split the $20,000 cash award by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival Jurors were: U.S. Documentary Competition: Fenton Bailey, Heather Croall, Charles Ferguson, Tia Lessin, Kim Roberts; U.S. Dramatic Competition: Justin Lin, Anthony Mackie, Cliff Martinez, Lynn Shelton, Amy Vincent; World Cinema Documentary Competition: Nick Fraser, Clara Kim, Jean-Marie Teno; World Cinema Dramatic Competition: Julia Ormond, Richard Pena, Aleksei Popogrebsky; Alfred P. Sloan Award: Tracy Day, Helen Fisher, Dr. Robert J. Full, Gwyn Lurie, Alex Rivera; Short Film Competition: Mike Judge, Dee Rees, Shane Smith.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival presented 117 feature-length films, representing 30 countries by 45 first-time filmmakers, including 24 in competition. These films were selected from 4,042 feature-length film submissions composed of 2,059 U.S. and 1,983 international feature-length films. 91 films at the Festival were world premieres. The Short Film Program was comprised of 64 short films selected from a record 7,675 submissions.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs through January 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. A complete list of films and events is available at Sundance.org/Festival.

The House I Live In was released October 5th, 2012 and stars Nannie Jeter, David Simon. The film is directed by Eugene Jarecki.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was released June 27th, 2012 and stars Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Jonshel Alexander, Marilyn Barbarin, Kaliana Brower, Joseph Brown, Nicholas Clark, Henry D. Coleman. The film is directed by Benh Zeitlin.



Sources: Sundance Film Festival

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Comments (1)

  1. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    I'll be checking some of these out

    3 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag