Arts & Entertainment

Sundance announces 2023 award winners

PARK CITY, Utah — The 2023 Sundance Film Festival award winners were announced on Friday, January 27, at The Ray Theater.

Award recipients from 15 countries were honored for their excellence in writing, acting, directing, storytelling, and editing.

“This year’s Festival has been an extraordinary experience,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “The artists that comprise the 2023 Sundance Film Festival have demonstrated a sense of urgency and dedication to excellence in independent film. Today’s award winners highlight our programs’ most impressive achievements in the current moment of cinematic arts. I hope you will join me in congratulating our winners, as well as thanking all artists across sections for sharing their stories with the Sundance community.”

Grand Jury Prizes

  • The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to A.V. Rockwell for “A Thousand and One” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: A.V. Rockwell, Producers: Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, Lena Waithe, Rishi Rajani, Brad Weston. Cast: Teyana Taylor, Will Catlett, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
  • The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson for “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project / U.S.A. Directors and Producers: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Producer: Tommy Oliver.
  • The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Charlotte Regan for “Scrapper” / U.K. Director and Screenwriter: Charlotte Regan, Producer: Theo Barrowclough. Cast: Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell, Alin Uzun, Ambreen Razia, Olivia Brady, Aylin Tezel.
  • The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Maite Alberdi for “The Eternal Memory” / Chile. Director and Producer: Maite Alberdi, Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Rocío Jadue.

Festival Favorite Award

Audience votes selected the Festival Favorite Award from the feature films that screened at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

  • The Festival Favorite Award was presented to “Radical” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Zalla, Producers: Ben Odell, Eugenio Derbez, Joshua Davis. Cast: Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Haddad, Jenifer Trejo, Mia Fernanda Solis, Danilo Guardiola.

Audience Awards

  • The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura, was awarded to “Beyond Utopia” / U.S.A. Director: Madeleine Gavin, Producers: Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Sue Mi Terry.
  • The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura, was awarded to “The Persian Version” / U.S.A. Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maryam Keshavarz, Producers: Anne Carey, Ben Howe, Luca Borghese, Peter Block, Corey Nelson. Cast: Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bella Warda, Bijan Daneshmand, Shervin Alenabi.
  • The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic, Presented by United Airlines, was awarded to “Shayda” / Australia. Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Noora Niasari, Producer: Vincent Sheehan. Cast: Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Osamah Sami, Leah Purcell, Jillian Nguyen, Mojean Aria, Selina Zahednia.
  • The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, Presented by United Airlines, was awarded to “20 Days in Mariupol” / Ukraine. Director and Producer: Mstyslav Chernov, Producers: Michelle Mizner, Raney Aronson-Rath, Derl McCrudden.
“20 Days in Mariupol” director and producer Mstyslav Chernov and producer Michelle Mizner pose with an award at the Ray Theater. Jan 27, 2022. Photo: Ashtyn Asay // TownLift.
  • The Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe, was awarded to “KOKOMO CITY” / U.S.A. Director and Producer: D. Smith, Producers: Harris Doran, Bill Butler.

Jury Awards for Directing, Screenwriting & Editing

  • The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Luke Lorentzen for “A Still Small Voice” / U.S.A. Director and Producer: Luke Lorentzen, Producer: Kellen Quinn.
  • The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Sing J. Lee for “The Accidental Getaway Driver” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Sing J. Lee, Screenwriter: Christopher Chen, Producers: Kimberly Steward, Basil Iwanyk, Andy Sorgie, Brendon Boyea, Joseph Hiếu. Cast: Hiệp Trần Nghĩa, Dustin Nguyen, Dali Benssalah, Phi Vũ, Gabrielle Chan.
  • The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Anna Hints for “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” Estonia, France, and Iceland. Director: Anna Hints, Producer: Marianne Ostrat.
Anna Hints, director of “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,” poses with an award at the Ray Theater. Jan 27, 2022. Photo: Ashtyn Asay // TownLift.
  • The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Marija Kavtaradze for ‘Slow” / Lithuania, Spain, and Sweden. Director and Screenwriter: Marija Kavtaradze, Producer: Marija Razgute. Cast: Greta Grinevičiūtė, Kęstutis Cicėnas.
  • The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Maryam Keshavarz for “The Persian Version” / U.S.A. Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maryam Keshavarz, Producers: Anne Carey, Ben Howe, Luca Borghese, Peter Block, Corey Nelson. Cast: Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bella Warda, Bijan Daneshmand, Shervin Alenabi.
  • The Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Daniela I. Quiroz for “Going Varsity in Mariachi“/ U.S.A. Directors: Alejandra Vasquez, Sam Osborn, Producers: James Lawler, Luis A. Miranda, Jr., Julia Pontecorvo.

Special Jury Awards

  • A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Ensemble was presented to the “Theater Camp” / U.S.A cast. Directors and Screenwriters: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Screenwriters: Noah Galvin, Ben Platt, Producers: Erik Feig, Samie Kim Falvey, Julia Hammer, Ryan Heller, Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum. Cast: Molly Gordon, Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Patti Harrison, Ayo Edebiri.
Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, directors and screenwriters of “Theater Camp,” pose with an award at the Ray Theater. Jan 27, 2022. Photo: Ashtyn Asay // TownLift.
  • A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision was presented to the creative team of “Magazine Dreams” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Elijah Bynum, Producers: Jennifer Fox, Dan Gilroy, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman. Cast: Jonathan Majors, Haley Bennett, Taylour Paige, Mike O’Hearn, Harrison Page, Harriet Sansom Harris.
  • A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting was presented to Lio Mehiel for “Mutt” / U.S.A. Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, Producers: Alexander Stegmaier, Stephen Scott Scarpulla, Jennifer Kuczaj, Joel Michaely. Cast: Lío Mehiel, Cole Doman, MiMi Ryder, Alejandro Goic.
  • A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision was presented to “The Stroll” / U.S.A. Directors: Kristen Lovell, Zackary Drucker, Producer: Matt Wolf
  • A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Freedom of Expression was presented to “Bad Press” / U.S.A. Directors: Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, Joe Peeler, Producers: Conrad Beilharz, Garrett F. Baker, Tyler Graim.
  • A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision was presented to “Fantastic Machine” / Sweden, Denmark. Directors and Producers: Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck.
  • A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Verite Filmmaking was presented to “Against the Tide” / India. Director and Producer: Sarvnik Kaur, Producer: Koval Bhatia.
  • A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision was presented to Sofia Alaoui for “Animalia” / France, Morocco, Qatar. Director and Screenwriter: Sofia Alaoui, Producers: Margaux Lorier, Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral.
  • A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Cinematography was presented to Lílis Soares for “Mami Wata” / Nigeria. Director and Screenwriter: C.J. “Fiery” Obasi, Producer: Oge Obasi.
  • A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Best Performance was presented to Rosa Marchant for “When It Melts” / Belgium. Director and Screenwriter: Veerle Baetens, Screenwriter: Maarten Loix, Producers: Bart Van Langendonck, Ellen Havenith, Jacques-Henri Bronckart. Cast: Charlotte De Bruyne, Rosa Marchant.

The NEXT Innovator Award Presented by Adobe

  • The NEXT Innovator Award presented by Adobe was presented to “KOKOMO CITY” / U.S.A. Director and Producer: D. Smith, Producers: Harris Doran, Bill Butler.
D. Smith, director and producer of KOKOMO CITY, poses with an award at the Ray Theater. Jan 27, 2022. Photo: Ashtyn Asay // TownLift.

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize Presented by Shutterstock

  • The Short Film Grand Jury Prize presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “When You Left Me On That Boulevard” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Kayla Abuda Galang, Producers: Alifya Ali, David Oconer, Udoy Rahim, Samantha Skinner. Cast: Kailyn Dulay, Melissa Arcaya, Elle Rodriguez, Whitney Agustin, Gina May Gimongala, Allan Wayne Anderson.
  • The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “Rest Stop” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Crystal Kayiza, Producers: Jalena Keane-Lee, Brit Fryer. Cast: Leeanna E. Tushabe, Alicia Basiima, Khalid Semakula, Robert Wanyama, Margaret Bisase, Olivia Nantongo.
  • The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “The Kidnapping of the Bride” / Germany. Director and Screenwriter: Sophia Mocorrea, Producer: Sarah Valerie Radu. Cast: Rai Todoroff, David Bruning, Tatiana Saphir, Anne Kulbatzki, Michaela Winterstein, Niels Bormann.
  • The Short Film Jury Award: Animation presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “The Flying Sailor” / Canada. Directors and Producers: Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis, Producer: David Christensen.
  • The Short Film Jury Award: Non-Fiction presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “Will You Look At Me” / China. Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Shuli Huang
  • A Short Film Special Jury Award, International: Directing presented by Shutterstock, was awarded to “AliEN0089” / Chile. Director and Screenwriter: Valeria Hofmann, Producers: Augusto Matte, Daniela Camino, Pascual Mena. Cast: Mariana di Girolamo.
  • A Short Film Special Jury Award, U.S: Directing presented by Shutterstock was awarded to “The Vacation” / U.S.A. Director and Screenwriter: Jarreau Carrillo, Producers: Marttise Hill, Julius Pryor. Cast: Drew Harris, Jarreau Carrillo, Ohene Cornelius, Trae Harris.

This year’s jurors were: Jeremy O. Harris, Eliza Hittman, and Marlee Matlin for U.S. Dramatic Competition; W. Kamau Bell, Ramona Diaz, and Carla Gutierrez for U.S. Documentary Competition; Shozo Ichiyama, Annemarie Jacir, and Funa Maduka for World Cinema Dramatic Competition; and Karim Amer, Petra Costa, and Alexander Nanau for World Cinema Documentary Competition; Madeleine Olnek for the NEXT competition section; Destin Daniel Cretton, Marie-Louise Khondji, and Deborah Stratman for the Short Film Program Competition.

“In addition to acknowledging our artists, I want to thank this year’s jurors for their time and thoughtful consideration,” added Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “Their efforts help contextualize our artists’ work beyond the Festival program and elevate their stories to new audiences around the globe. The winners themselves represent a diverse mix of bold storytelling, thought-provoking reflections, and critical representations of our world today.”

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