Sundance 2013: 'Fruitvale' takes two major festival prizes

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Image Credit: Fred Hayes/Getty Images

Fruitvale became the first Sundance film to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film since Precious in 2009. First-time director Ryan Coogler was inspired to write the film after 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by Oakland transit police on New Year’s Day morning 2009. Fruitvale tells the story of Grant’s last 24 hours alive, as he attempts to become a better father, a better boyfriend, and a better son and friend. “It’s about human beings and how we treat each other,” said Coogler, “how we treat people that we love and how we treat people that we don’t know.”

“For anyone out there who thinks for one second that movies don’t matter and can’t make a difference in the world,” juror Tom Rothman said as he announced the winner. “Please welcome — this will not be the last time you guys walk to a podium — Fruitvale.”

Other big winners included Lake Bell, who won a screenwriting award for In a World…, and the documentary Blood Brother, which also doubled with the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Documentary

Click below for the festival’s official list of winners:

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival Awards presented this evening were:

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Davis Guggenheim to:

Blood Brother / U.S.A. (Director: Steve Hoover) — Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face, or the love he would find.

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Tom Rothman to:

Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Bob Hawk to:

A River Changes Course / Cambodia, U.S.A. (Director: Kalyanee Mam) — Three young Cambodians struggle to overcome the crushing effects of deforestation, overfishing, and overwhelming debt in this devastatingly beautiful story of a country reeling from the tragedies of war and rushing to keep pace with a rapidly expanding world.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented Anurag Kashyap to:

Jiseul / South Korea (Director and screenwriter: Muel O) — In 1948, as the Korean government ordered the Communists’ eviction to Jeju Island, the military invaded a calm and peaceful village. Townsfolk took sanctuary in a cave and debated moving to a higher mountain. Cast: Min-chul SUNG, Jung-won YANG, Young-soon OH, Soon-dong PARK, Suk-bum MOON, Kyung-sub JANG.

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary presented by Acura, was presented by Barbara Kopple to:

Blood Brother / U.S.A. (Director: Steve Hoover) — Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face, or the love he would find.

The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic presented by Acura, was presented by Mariel Hemingway to:

Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Barbara Kopple to:

The Square (Al Midan) / Egypt, U.S.A. (Director: Jehane Noujaim) — What does it mean to risk your life for your ideals? How far will five revolutionaries go in defending their beliefs in the fight for their nation?

The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Mariel Hemingway to:

Metro Manila / United Kingdom, Philippines (Director: Sean Ellis, Screenwriters: Sean Ellis, Frank E. Flowers) — Seeking a better life, Oscar and his family move from the poverty-stricken rice fields to the big city of Manila, where they fall victim to various inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival. Cast: Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Althea Vega.

The Audience Award: Best of NEXT <=> was presented by Joseph Gordon-Levitt to:

This is Martin Bonner / U.S.A.(Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno for a new job in prison rehabilitation. Starting over at age 58, he struggles to adapt until an unlikely friendship with an ex-con blossoms, helping him confront the problems he left behind. Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Richmond Arquette, Sam Buchanan, Robert Longstreet, Demetrius Grosse.

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Liz Garbus to:

Cutie and the Boxer / U.S.A. (Director: Zachary Heinzerling) — This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role of assistant to her overbearing husband, Noriko seeks an identity of her own.

The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Ed Burns to:

Afternoon Delight / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jill Soloway) — In this sexy, dark comedy, a lost L.A. housewife puts her idyllic life in jeopardy when she tries to rescue a stripper by taking her in as a live-in nanny. Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Enat Sidi to:

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear / Georgia, Germany (Director: Tinatin Gurchiani) — A film director casting a 15-23-year-old protagonist visits villages and cities to meet people who answer her call. She follows those who prove to be interesting enough through various dramatic and funny situations

The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Nadine Labaki to:

Crystal Fairy / Chile (Director and screenwriter: Sebastián Silva) — Jamie invites a stranger to join a road trip to Chile. The woman’s free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. Cast: Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva.

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Wesley Morris to:

In a World… / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lake Bell) — An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. Cast: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed.

The Screenwriting Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Joana Vicente to:

Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) / Afghanistan (Director and screenwriter: Barmak Akram) — A young man in Kabul seduces a girl. When she tells him she’s pregnant, he questions having taken her virginity. Then her father arrives, and a timeless, archaic violence erupts – possibly leading to a crime, and even a sacrifice. Cast: Wajma Bahar, Mustafa Habibi, Haji Gul, Breshna Bahar.

The Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Gary Hustwit to:

Gideon’s Army / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter) — Gideon’s Army follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.

The Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Enat Sidi to:

The Summit / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director: Nick Ryan) — Twenty-four climbers converged at the last stop before summiting the most dangerous mountain on Earth. Forty-eight hours later, 11 had been killed or simply vanished. Had one, Ger McDonnell, stuck to the climbers’ code, he might still be alive.

The Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Brett Morgen to:

Dirty Wars / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Rowley) — Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the truth behind America’s covert wars.

The Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Rodrigo Prieto to:

Bradford Young for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Mother of George:

•             Ain’t Them Bodies Saints / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Lowery) — The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine.

•             Mother of George / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriter: Darci Picoult) — A story about a woman willing to do anything and risk everything for her marriage. Cast: Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Tony Okungbowa, Yaya Alafia, Bukky Ajayi.

The Cinematography Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Sean Farnel to:

Who is Dayani Cristal? / United Kingdom (Director: Marc Silver) — An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for its identity leads us across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo.

The Cinematography Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Nadine Labaki to:

Lasting / Poland, Spain (Director and screenwriter: Jacek Borcuch) — An emotional love story about two Polish students who fall in love with each other while working summer jobs in Spain. An unexpected nightmare interrupts their carefree time in the heavenly landscape and throws their lives into chaos. Cast: Jakub Gierszal, Magdalena Berus, Angela Molina.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking was presented by Diane Weyermann to:

Inequality for All / U.S.A. (Director: Jacob Kornbluth) — In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic-policy expert Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality, and addresses the question of what effects this increasing gap has on our economy and our democracy.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking was presented by Diane Weyermann to:

American Promise / U.S.A. (Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson) — This intimate documentary follows the 12-year journey of two African-American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting was presented by Clare Stewart to:

Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) — Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred. Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Sound Design was presented by Clare Stewart to:

Shane Carruth and Johnny Marshall for Upstream Color / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shane Carruth) — A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award was presented by Joana Vicente to:

Circles / Serbia, Germany, France, Croatia, Slovenia (Director: Srdan Golubovic, Screenwriters: Srdjan Koljevic, Melina Pota Koljevic) — Five people are affected by a tragic heroic act. Twenty years later, all of them will confront the past through their own crises. Will they overcome guilt, frustration and their urge for revenge? Will they do the right thing, at all costs? Cast: Aleksandar Bercek, Leon Lucev, Nebojsa Glogovac, Hristina Popovic, Nikola Rakocevic, Vuk Kostic.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit was presented by Sean Farnel to:

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer / Russian Federation, United Kingdom (Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin) — Three young women face seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. But who is really on trial: the three young artists or the society they live in?

The Short Film Audience Award, Presented by YouTube, based on web traffic for 12 short films that screened at the Festival and were featured on The Screening Room, was presented to:

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? / U.S.A.(Director: Jason Willis) — Catnip is all the rage with today’s modern feline, but do we really understand it? This film frankly discusses the facts about this controversial substance.

The following awards were presented at separate ceremonies at the Festival:

Jury prizes and honorable mentions in short filmmaking were presented at a ceremony in Park City, Utah on January 22. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to The Whistle / Poland (Director: Grzegorz Zariczny). The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle). The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to The Date / Finland (Director and screenwriter: Jenni Toivoniemi). The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to Skinningrove / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Almereyda). The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to Irish Folk Furniture / Ireland (Director: Tony Donoghue). A Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to Joel Nagle in Palimpsest / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Tyburski, Screenwriters: Michael Tyburski, Ben Nabors). A Short Film Special Jury Award was presented to Until the Quiet Comes / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kahlil Joseph).

The winning directors and projects of the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world, are: Sarthak Dasgupta, The Music Teacher (India); Jonas Carpignano, A Chjana (Italy/U.S.); Aly Muritiba, The Man Who Killed My Beloved Dead (Brazil); and Vendela Vida & Eva Weber, Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name (UK/Germany/U.S.).

The Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award, honoring and supporting emerging filmmakers, was presented to Kentaro Hagiwara, director of the upcoming film Spectacled Tiger.

The winning documentaries of the second annual Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Awards, selected by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund with Hilton Worldwide, were: Revolutionary Optimists (Directors: Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen) and Hungry (Director: Sandy McLeod). An honorable mention was awarded to Studio H (Director: Patrick Creadon), and the short film Jungle Fish (Director: Louisiana Kreutz) received $5,000.

The 2013 Indian Paintbrush Producer’s Award and $10,000 grant was presented to Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

The Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character, was presented to Computer Chess, directed and written by Andrew Bujalski. The film received a $20,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival Jurors were: U.S. Documentary Competition: Liz Garbus, Davis Guggenheim, Gary Hustwit, Brett Morgen, Diane Weyermann; U.S. Dramatic Competition: Ed Burns, Wesley Morris, Rodrigo Prieto, Tom Rothman, Clare Stewart; World Cinema Documentary Competition: Sean Farnel, Robert Hawk, Enat Sidi; World Cinema Dramatic Competition: Anurag Kashyap, Nadine Labaki, Joana Vicente; Alfred P. Sloan Award: Jon Amiel, Paula Apsell, Darren Aronofsky, Scott Z. Burns, Dr. André Fenton, Dr. Lisa Randall; Short Film Competition: Mike Farah, Don Hertzfeldt, Magali Simard.

Read more:
Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer talk ‘Fruitvale’
‘Fruitvale’ director Ryan Coogler talks about Sundance, Super Bowl
Sony Pictures Classics falls for ‘Before Midnight’
Sundance 2013 Deal Report


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