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Coda, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) Take Top Prizes at The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Awards


“When we dreamed this idea, this is what we dreamed, but you all made it a reality,” said Sundance Festival Director Tabitha Jackson during the introduction to this evening’s 2021 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony. Like the festival, the ceremony was a smoothly running virtual one, connecting the at-home Sundance directors and programmers with the filmmakers similarly ensconced around the world (or, in the cases of Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, All Light, Everywhere director Theo Anthony and Users director Natalia Almada, respectively, in a car on his way to work in New York, walking his dog, and at a San Francisco drive-in). Big winners include Coda, Siân’s Heder drama about a hearing teenager living with her Deaf family (U.S. Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Award, Audience Award, Best Ensemble and Directing Award); Roots drummer Questlove’s directorial debut, Summer of Soul (…Or, the Revolution Will Not Be Televised), about a 1969 Harlem music performance series dubbed the “Black Woodstock,” which took home the US Documentary Competition Grand Jury Award as well as the Audience Award; and Blerta Basholli’s Kosovo-set drama of a woman in the years after the disappearance of her husband, Hive, which won three awards, including the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Award.

A new award was created to recognize the creative work of the documentary editor, the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award, named after the late editor of Streetwise, Paris is Burning and The Oath, among many others. That award went to Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno for Homeroom.

The complete list of winners follows. Read all of Filmmaker‘s Sundance 2021 coverage here.

Short Film Awards

Special Jury Award, Acting: Deanna Gibson, Wiggle Room

Special Jury, Screenwriting: Serhat Karaaslan, The Criminals

Jury Prize, Animation: Souvenir, Souvenir, directed by Bastien Dubois

Jury Award, Nonfiction: Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma, directed by Topaz Jones and Rubberband

Jury Award, International Fiction: Bambirak, directed by Zamarin Wahdat

Jury Prize for U.S. Fiction: The Touch of the Masters Hand, directed by Gregory Barnes.

Grand Jury Award: Lizard, directed byAkinola Davies, Jr.

NEXT Awards

Audience Award: Ma Belle, My Beauty, directed by Marion Hill

Innovator Award: Cryptozoo, directed by Dash Shaw

World Cinema Documentary Competition

Special Jury Award, Verite Filmmaking: President, directed by Camilla Nielsson

Special Jury Award, Impact for Change: Writing with Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Directing Award: Sabaya, directed by Hogir Hirori

Grand Jury Award: Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Audience Award: Writing with Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Special Jury Award, Acting: Jesmark Scicluna, Luzzu.

Special Jury Award, Creative Vision: One for the Road, directed by Baz Poonpiriya

Directing Award: Hive, directed by Blerta Basholli

Grand Jury Prize: Hive, directed by Blerta Basholli

Audience Award: Hive, directed by Blerta Basholli

US Documentary Competition

Audience Award: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Special Jury Award, Emerging Filmmaker: Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt, Cusp.

Special Jury Award, Nonfiction Experimentation: Theo Anthony, All Light, Everywhere

Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno, Homeroom

Directing Award: Natalia Almada, Users

Grand Jury Prize: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

US Dramatic Competition

Audience Award: Coda, directed by Siân Heder

Special Jury Award, Acting: Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

Special Jury Award, Best Ensemble: The cast of Coda

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, On the Count of Three

Directing Award: Siân Heder, Coda

Grand Jury Prize: Coda, directed by Siân Heder.


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