“A Thousand and One,” a drama about a poor single mother and her son in New York, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in the American Fiction category, while “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project » received the first prize. in the American documentary category. The winners were announced at a Friday afternoon ceremony in Park City, Utah, which included an audience award for the Associated Press/PBS documentary “20 Days in Mariupol.”
Screenwriter Jeremy O. Harris, filmmaker Eliza Hittman and actress Marlee Matlin made up the jury of the fiction feature competition.
Moved to tears, Harris said he asked to personally present the grand prize for “One Thousand and One” and writer-director AV Rockwell.
“I have never seen a life so similar to mine portrayed with so much nuance and tenderness,” Harris said. “This film touched my guts and awakened all the emotions that I have learned to hide in these spaces.”
Rockwell, who is releasing her feature debut with the film, was equally thrilled.
“It’s been such a long journey for me, but the institute has been a wonderful support system,” Rockwell said.
“20 Days in Mariupol”, a first-person account of the beginnings of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, won the audience award for an international documentary. A joint project between the AP and the PBS series “Frontline”, it uses 30 hours of footage filmed by AP journalist Mstyslav Chernov and his colleagues in the besieged city of Mariupol before they were evacuated.
“I want to thank everyone who believed in us: AP, Frontline and Sundance and everyone in the public who decided not to go,” Chernov said. “It’s not an achievement, it’s a privilege.”
Sing J. Lee won Best Direction for American Fiction for “The Accidental Getaway Driver.” The “Camp Théâtre” team was rewarded with a special jury prize. Lío Mehiel, who uses the pronounsils, received a Special Jury Prize for his performance in “Mutt,” on a trans male person’s day in New York. And the drama “Magazine Dreams”, in which Jonathan Majors plays an amateur bodybuilder, was recognized for his creative vision.
“To everyone in this room, each and every one, we extend our utmost support and deepest respect,” Matlin said through an interpreter. The deaf actress also sent her regards to her “CODA” (“CODA: Signs of the Heart”) team that triumphed at the festival two years ago. Her Oscar-winning co-star Troy Kotsur was in the audience applauding.
Speaking of “CODA,” a new film by another cast member has won an award at Sundance. “Radical,” starring Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez as an inspirational teacher in a Mexican border town, won the “Festival Favorite” award.
“Scrapper”, in the international fiction category, about a 12-year-old girl living alone in the suburbs of London after the death of her mother, and the international documentary “The Eternal Memory”, about the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a 25-year relationship, rewarded by the jury. “Kokomo City,” about the lives of black and trans sex workers, won the NEXT Award for Innovation and the Audience Award in the NEXT category.
Other public award-winning films include “The Persian Version” of American fiction, the American documentary “Beyond Utopia” and “Shayda” of international fiction.
The 2023 edition of Sundance was the first face-off since 2020. 111 feature films and 64 short films were released.
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