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Minari, Boys State Win Top Prizes at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival


Minari, Lee Isaac-Chung’s fourth feature, an autobiographical portrait of his Korean-American family’s life in the 1980s as he was growing up in a small Arkansas town, won two top prizes — the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and U.S. Dramatic Audience Award — tonight at 2020 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony. Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s Boys State, a documentary about a contentious kind of civic summer camp for Texas teens, won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize. A24 will release both films, the latter in partnership with Apple TV+. The World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Massoud Bakhshi’ Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness, a biting thriller and work of social commentary set within the world of Iranian reality TV. Jerry Rothwell’s portrait of five non-speaking autistic people across the globe won the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Rothwell’s film also won the World Cinema Audience Award.

Among the other awards were the U.S. Directing Prizes, which went to first-time feature filmmaker Radha Blank, for her black-and-white tale of a New York woman, approaching 40, seeking to realize her authentic voice as a rapper, 40-Year-Old Version, and Garrett Bradley, whose first formal documentary feature, Time, is both an epic love story as well as a clear-eyed look at U.S. sentencing policy through the eyes of an activist woman fighting for the release from prison of her husband.

Another double award winner was the celebrated documentary maker Heidi Ewing, whose dramatic feature debut, I Carry You With Me, won the Next Audience and Innovator Awards. Josephine Decker won a Special Award for Auteur Filmmaking for her boldly turbulent exploration of the creative process, Shirley. Eliza Hittman won a Special Award for Neorealism for Never Rarely Sometimes Always, her Berlin-bound story dealing with teenage friendship and reproductive rights.

Said Sundance Institute’s Executive Director Keri Putnam in the press release, “At Sundance, we believe art can break through noise and polarization. In volatile times like these, democracy and storytelling aren’t separate – they’re inextricably linked. Congratulations to each and every one of tonight’s winners, and to all the extraordinary artists who joined us at the Festival.”

Tonight’s ceremony was the final one for John Cooper as Sundance Film Festival Director. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to stand with these artists, and to see their work meet audiences for the first time,” he said. Cooper will be succeeded by Tabitha Jackson, who has been Sundance’s Documentary Film Program Director.

A complete list of winners follows.

U.S. Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

U.S. Grand Jury Prize, Documentary

Boys State
Directors: Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic

Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness
Director: Massoud Bakhshi

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, Documentary

The Reason I Jump
Jerry Rothwell

U.S. Directing Prize, Dramatic

The 40-Year-Old Version
Director: Radha Blank

U.S. Directing Prize, Documentary

Director: Garrett Bradley

World Cinema Directing Prize, Dramatic

Maïmouna Doucouré

World Cinema Directing Prize, Documentary

The Earth Is Blue As An Orange
Director: Iryna Tsilyk

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award

U.S. Dramatic: Edson Oda for Nine Days

U.S. Audience Award, Dramatic

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung

U.S. Audience Award, Documentary

Crip Camp
Directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht

World Cinema Audience Award, Dramatic

Identifying Features (Sin Senas Particulares)
Directed by Fernanda Valadez

World Cinema Audience Award, Documentary

The Reason I Jump
Jerry Rothwell

Next Audience Award

I Carry You With Me
Directed by Heidi Ewing

Next Innovator Prize

I Carry You With Me
Heidi Ewing

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast

Charm City Kings
Director: Angel Manuel Soto

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Auteur Filmmaking

Director: Josephine Decker

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Neo-Realism

Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Director: Eliza Hittman

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing

Welcome to Chechnya
Editor: Tyler H. Walk

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Director: Kirsten Johnson

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker

Feels Good Man
Director: Arthur Jones

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking

The Fight
Directors: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting

Ben Whishaw

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking

This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection
Director-screenwriter: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay

Fernanda Valadez, Astrid Rondero
Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares)

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling

The Painter And The Thief
Director: Benjamin Ree

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography

Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc
Acasa, My Home

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing

Mila Aung-Thwin, Sam Soko, Ryan Mullins

Gayle Stevens Volunteer Award

Devon Edwards


Alfred P. Sloan Prize

Directed by Michael Almereyda


Grand Jury Prize

So What if the Goats Die (France/Morocco)
Directed by Sofia Alaoui

U.S. Fiction

-Ship: A Visual Poem
Directed by Terrence Daye

International Fiction

The Devil’s Harmony (UK)
Directed by Dylan Holmes Williams


John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
Directed by Matthew Kilip


Daughter (Czech Republic)
Directed by Daria Kashcheeva


Sadaf Asgari, in Exam (Iran)
Directed by Sonia K. Hadad


Michael Arcos, Valerio’s Day Out (U.S./Colombia)

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