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Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash Wins Two Top Prizes at the 30th Sundance Film Festival


Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash soared to victory in the major awards categories in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 30th Sundance Film Festival Saturday night. The picture, which was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics during the festival, took home both the U.S. Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Chazelle’s second feature tells the story of an ambitious young jazz drummer and his unrelenting instructor in a no-holds-barred conservatory environment. The 28-year-old Chazelle first gained attention in 2009 when his feature directorial debut Guy and Madeleine on a Park Bench surfaced at that year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for the Gotham Award for the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You. His short film Whiplash, a precursor to tonight’s winner, won at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Meanwhile in the World Cinema competitions — in which nearly all the narrative winners seemed to have disappeared to their respective homelands to accept their awards via recorded video message with their young children in tow — Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ To Kill a Man took home the Grand Jury Prize in World Dramatic while Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Difret received the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award.

In the U.S. Documentary category, 2013 25 New Face Andrew Droz Palermo and his directing partner Tracy Droz Tragos took home the top prize in U.S. Documentary for Rich Hill. Michael Rossato-Bennett won the Audience Award in U.S. Documentary for Alive Inside. Among the World Cinema Documentaries, Nadiv Schirman’s The Green Prince won the World Cinema Audience Award in Documentary, and the Grand Jury Prize in that category went to Talal Derki for Return to Homs.

A full list of winners is below:

Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic: Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary: Rich Hill, directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo

World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic: To Kill a Man, directed by Alejandro Fernández Almendras

World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary: Return to Homs, directed by Talal Derki

Dramatic Audience Award: Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle

Documentary Audience Award: Alive Inside, directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett

World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: Difret, directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari

World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: The Green Prince, directed by Nadav Schirman

The Best of NEXT Audience Award: Imperial Dreams, directed by Malik Vitthal

Directing Award, Dramatic: Fishing Without Nets, directed by Cutter Hodierne

Directing Award, Documentary: The Case Against 8, directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White

World Cinema Directing Award, Dramatic: 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde

World Cinema Directing Award, Documentary: 20, 000 Days on Earth, directed by Iain Forsyth

Waldo Scott Screenwriting Award: The Skeletons Twins, written by Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman

World Cinema Screenwriting Award: Blind, written by Eskil Vogt

Documentary Editing Award: Watchers in the Sky, edited by Jenny Golden and Karen Sim

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award: 20, 000 Days on Earth, edited by Jonathan Amos

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Dramatic: Low Down, shot by Christopher Blauvelt

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Documentary: E-Team, shot by Rachel Beth Anderson and Ross Kauffman

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Dramatic: Lilting, shot by Ula Pontiklos

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Documentary: Happiness, shot by Thomas Balmes and Nina Bernfeld

US Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent: Dear White People writer-director Justin Simien

US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Musical Score: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Special Jury Prize, Documentary: The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss

US Documentary Special Jury Award for Use of Animation: Watchers of the Sky

World Cinema Special Jury Prize, Documentary: We Come As Friends, directed by Hubert Sauper

World Cinema Special Jury Prize, Dramatic: God Help the Girl, directed by Stuart Murdoch

Alfred P. Sloan Prize: I Origins, directed by Mike Cahill

The Short Film Audience Award: Chapel Perilous, directed by Matthew Lessner

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