Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners

Yesterday they announced the awards winners and here are some of the honored feature films.

The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to FROZEN RIVER, directed by Courtney Hunt, about adesperate trailer mom and a Mohawk Indian girl who team up to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States from Canada.

The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to KING OF PING PONG (PING
PONGKINGEN)/ Sweden, directed by Jens Jonsson. An ostracized and bullied teenager who excels only in ping pong descends into an acrimonious struggle with his younger, more popular brother when the truth about their family history and their father surfaces over the course of their spring break.

The Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to THE WACKNESS, directed by Jonathan Levine. During a sweltering New York summer, a troubled teenage drug dealer trades pot for therapy sessions with a drugaddled psychiatrist, and in the process falls for the doctor's daughter.

The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to CAPTAIN ABU RAED/Jordan, by director Amin Matalqa. The first feature film to come out of Jordan in 50 years, CAPTAIN ABU RAED tells the story of an aging airport janitor who is mistaken for an airline pilot by a group of poor neighborhood children and whose fantastical stories offer hope for a sad, sometimes unchangeable, reality.

The Directing Award: Dramatic was presented to Lance Hammer for BALLAST, a riveting, lyrical portrait of an emotionally frayed family whose lives are torn asunder by a tragic act in a small Mississippi Delta town.

The World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was presented to Anna Melikyan for MERMAID (RUSALKA)/ Russia. The fanciful tale of an introverted little girl who grows up believing she has the power to make wishes come true. She must reconcile this belief with reality when, as a young woman, she journeys to Moscow and grapples with love, modernity and materialism.

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for outstanding achievement in writing was presented to Alex Rivera and David Riker for their screenplay for SLEEP DEALER. Set in a near-future, militarized world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology.

The World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented to Samuel Benchetrit for his screenplay of I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A GANGSTER (J'AI TOUJOURS RÊVÉ D'ÊTRE UN GANGSTER)/ France. Told in four vignettes, this existential comedy relates the exploits of four aspiring criminals who hope to improve their lot, but find that they might not have what it takes for a life of crime.

A World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Ernesto Contreras, director of BLUE EYELIDS (PÁRPADOS AZULES)/ Mexico. When Marina wins a beach getaway trip for two, her desperate search for someone to take with her leads to a complicated relationship and the revelation that she might be better off on her own.

International Filmmakers Award was created to honor and support emerging filmmakers–one each from the United States, Japan, Europe and Latin America–who possess the originality, talent and vision to be celebrated as we look to the future of international cinema. The winning filmmakers and projects for 2008 are Alejandro Fernandez Almendras from Chile with HUACHO; Braden King from the United States, with HERE; Aiko Nagatsu from Japan, with APOPTOSIS; and Radu Jude from Romania, with THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.

To check the full list of award winners go here.

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