Sundance hands out festival awards

Awards 'celebrate diversity' of 2010 lineup at Sundance

Published: Sunday, Jan. 31 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Debra Granik, director of "Winter's Bone," accepts the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony at the Racquet Club in Park City on Saturday.

T.j. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News

PARK CITY — A missing-persons tale and a Bolivian class war drama were the big winners at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

"Winter's Bone" took home two awards from the festival Saturday night — including the Grand Jury Prize for best U.S. dramatic feature and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, given to Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini (Granik also directed the film). The feat was duplicated by "Southern District (Zona Sur)," which won a Directing Award, world cinema dramatic and the World Cinema Screenwriting Award.

Actor David Hyde Pierce ("The Perfect Host") hosted the awards event, and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Hesher") and comedian Louis C.K. ("Louis C.K.: Hilarious") announced the Best of NEXT Award and the Audience Awards, respectively.

Another feature, the romantic drama "Obsedelia," won an Excellence in Cinema Award (U.S. dramatic) and was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Prize — which is given to a film that "excels in addressing compelling topics in science or technology."

Meanwhile, most of the festival awards were split among a diverse group.

The Australian drama "Animal Kingdom" won a Grand Jury Prize, world cinema dramatic, and Audience Awards were given to "happythankyoumoreplease" (U.S. dramatic) and "Contracorriente" (world cinema dramatic).

Grand Jury Prize winners for Best U.S. Documentary and Best World Cinema Documentary were "Restrepo" and "The Red Chapel (Det Rode Kapel)," respectively.

And the public education expose "Waiting for Superman" received the Audience Award for most popular U.S. documentary. The film was also the first "free agent" at this year's festival to be picked for distribution, as Paramount Vantage bought its theatrical exhibition rights on the first day of Sundance 2010.

Directing Awards were given to Leon Gast, for "Smash His Camera" (U.S. documentary), Eric Mendelsohn ("3 Backyards," U.S. dramatic) and Christian Frei ("Space Tourists," world cinema documentary).

Excellence in Cinematography winners included Kirsten Johnson and Laura Poitras, for "The Oath" (U.S. documentary), Kate McCullough and Michael Lavelle ("His & Hers," world cinema documentary) and Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat ("The Man Next Door," world cinema dramatic).

Sundance gave out Editing Awards as well, to Penelope Falk ("Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," U.S. documentary) and Joelle Alexis ("A Film Unfinished," world cinema documentary).

In keeping with tradition, Sundance's judges did give out a handful of Special Jury Prizes. Tatiana Maslany was honored for her "breakout performance" as a starry-eyed teenager in "Grown Up Movie Star," while "Enemies of the People" (world cinema documentary), "GASLAND" (U.S. documentary) and "Sympathy for Delicious" (U.S. dramatic) received similar honors.

A new award this year was Best of NEXT, given to "Homewrecker." That award was chosen from eight, "low-to-no-budget features" showing at Sundance this year.

Thirty-two U.S. documentaries and narrative features were in the juried competition categories this year, as was an equal number of world cinema selections. Audience Awards were selected from the entire body of Sundance features, 117 of them in all.

Sundance's awards "celebrate the diversity of this year's program," programming director Trevor Groth said, adding that he hopes the attention given to the award winners will "allow the films to connect with a wider audience hungry for choice."

Festival Director John Cooper agreed and lauded both the filmmakers and the audiences at this year's event, saying that "it was as if I could feel a shift in the DNA of the film community. The reaction to the films was inspiring."

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