The 2020 Sundance film festival, the most important festival for independent American cinema came to a close Saturday night with the announcement of winners at the awards ceremony. Lee Isaac Chung’s immigrant family drama, Minari was the big winner, claiming the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S Dramatic Competition. Starring South Korean/American actor Steven Yeun as a man who takes his family to the edge of nowhere on a search for the American dream, Minari also won the Audience Award in the U.S Dramatic Competition.
In the U.S Documentary Competition, Boys State, a fascinating deep dive into a class of politically inclined Texas teens participating in an annual mock-government competition won the Grand Jury Prize.
Other winners include Crip Camp, the Netflix documentary executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, the riveting same sex love story, I Carry You With Me and Radha Blank who won the directing award for her delightful first feature, The 40-Year-Old Version.
African films made quite the splash too with Kenyan documentary Softie opening the score with a Special Jury Award for Editing awarded to the trio of Mila Aung Thwin, Sam Soko and Ryan Mullins. The Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking went to Lesotho’s Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese for his visually arresting portrait of gentrification, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection. And French-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré, won the directing award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition for her work in the polarizing social drama Cuties. An earlier prize, the Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Features went to Huriyyah Muhammad for the immigrant drama, Farewell Amor.
The festival announced a major change in leadership too as long-time director John Cooper transitions to an emeritus role. Tabitha Jackson the erstwhile head of documentary programming for the festival has been promoted to the director position. King becomes the first Brit, first woman and first person of color to lead the festival.
See Complete list of winners below:
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize-Minari
Audience Award- Minari
Directing- Radha Blank, The 40-Year-Old Version
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award- Edson Oda, Nine Days.
Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast- Charm City Kings
Special Jury Auteur Award- Josephine Decker, Shirley
Special Jury Award for Neorealism- Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize- Boys State
Audience Award- Crip Camp
Directing: Garrett Bradley- Time
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker- Arthur Jones, Feels Good Man
Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking- Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres, The Fight
Special Jury Award for Editing- Tyler H. Walk, Welcome to Chechnya
Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling- Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson Is Dead
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize- Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness
Audience Award- Identifying Features
Directing Award- Maïmouna Doucouré, Cuties
Special Jury Award for Acting- Ben Whishaw, Surge
Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking- Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay- Fernanda Valadez & Astrid Rondero, Identifying Features
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize- Epicentro
Audience Award- The Reason I Jump
Directing Award- Iryna Tsilyk, The Earth is Blue as an Orange
Special Jury Award for Editing- Mila Aung Thwin, Sam Soko, Ryan Mullins, Softie
Special Jury Award for Cinematography- Micrea Topoleanu, Radu Ciorniciuc, Acasa, My Home
Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling- Benjamin Ree, The Painter and the Thief
NEXT Audience Award- I Carry You With Me
NEXT Innovator Award- I Carry You With Me
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize- Tesla
Sundance Institute NHK Award- Kirsten Tan, Higher
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Features- Huriyyah Muhammad, Farewell Amor
Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features- Diane Becker & Melanie Miller of Fishbowl Films, Whirlybird
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Documentary- Carla Gutierrez
Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Narrative- Affonso Gonçalves