2008 Sundance Award Winners Announced

The Sundance Film Festival is about all kinds of different things. On one level, it is a marketplace where filmmakers bring their films to be sold to the highest bidder. Think about movies like Choke (which sold for $5 million) and Hamlet 2 (which sold for an astounding $10 million). These films come here to get picked up and move on to commercial success with limited to wide releases around the world.

As well, there is another aspect of the festival, another form of acclaim — the Sundance Awards. Here the Festival Juries and the Festival Audiences select their favorite films of the week. Sometimes these two forms of acclaim overlap and sometimes they don’t. This year, the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic Competition went to Frozen River, a film that until now I had heard very little about. The Dramatic Audience Award was a different story, as it turned out to be a film that I cannot shut up about: The Wackness. Another notable winner is American Teen, whose director Nanette Burstein took home the Documentary Directing Award. This is absolutely fantastic news, as her doc was one of my personal favorites of the fest. Take a look at the complete list of winners below.

Complete list of Sundance 2008 Award Winners:

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
“Trouble The Water”; directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
“Frozen River”; directed by Courtney Hunt

World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary
“Man on Wire”; directed by James Marsh

World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic
“King of Ping Pong” (“Ping Pongkingen”); directed by Jens Jonsson

Audience Award: Documentary
Fields of Fuel”; directed by Josh Tickell

Audience Award: Dramatic
“The Wackness”; directed by Jonathan Levine

World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
“Man on Wire”; directed by James Marsh

World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic
“Captain Abu Raed”; directed by Amin Matalqa

Directing Award: Documentary
Nanette Burstein for “American Teen”

Directing Award: Dramatic
Lance Hammer for “Ballast”

World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary
Nino Kirtadze for “Durakovo: Village of Fools” (“Durakovo: Le Village Des Fous”)

World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic
Anna Melikyan for “Mermaid” (Rusalka)

World Cinema Screenwriting Award
Samuel Benchetrit for “I Always Wanted To Be A Gangster” (“J’ai Toujours Reve D’Etre Un Gangster”)

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award
Irena Dol for “The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins”

Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary
Phillip Hunt and Steven Sebring for “Patti Smith: Dream of Life”

Excellence in Cinematography Award: Dramatic
Lol Crawley for “Ballast”

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary
al Massad for “Recycle”

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic
Askild Vik Edvardsen for “King of King Pong” (“Ping Pongkingen”)

Documentary Editing Award
Joe Bini for “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Alex Rivera and David Riker for “Sleep Dealer”

Special Jury Prizes

Special Jury Prize: Documentary
“Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo,” directed by Lisa F. Jackson

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic, The Spirit of Independence
“Anywhere, U.S.A.,” directed by Chusy Haney-Jardine

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic, Work by an Ensemble Cast
Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald and Brad Henke for “Choke”

Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking
“My Olympic Summer,” directed by Daniel Robin
“Sikumi” (“On the Ice”), directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking
“Soft,” directed by Simon Ellis

Shorts Jury Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking
“Aquarium,” directed by Rob Meyer
“August 15th,” directed by Xuan Jiang
“La Corona,” (“The Crown”), directed by Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Oiran Lyrics,” directed by Ryosuke Ogawa
“Spider,” directed by Nash Edgerton
“Suspension,” directed by Nicolas Provost
“W.,” directed by The Vikings
Alfred P. Sloan Prize
“The Sleep Dealer”; directed by Alex Rivera

Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award
Alejandro Fernandez Almendras for “Huacho”
Braden King for “Here”
Aiko Nagatsu for “Apoptsis”
Radu Jude for “The Happiest Girl In The World”

For more news, reviews and buzz from the streets of Park City, check out our Sundance 2008 Homepage.

Talking Points: Did you attend the Sundance Film Festival this year? What were your favorite films?

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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