Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sundance ’10: Prize-Winners & Summing Up

Illustration for article titled Sundance ’10: Prize-Winners & Summing Up

The 2010 edition of the Sundance Film Festival officially came to an end with the announcement of this year’s awards-winners.


Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic: Winter’s Bone
Audience Award, U.S. Dramatic: happythankyoumoreplease

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary: Restrepo
Audience Award, U.S. Documentary: Waiting For Superman

World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic: Animal Kingdom
World Cinema Audience Award, Dramatic: Contracorriente

World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary: The Red Chapel
World Cinema Audience Award, Documentary: Wasteland

U.S. Special Jury Prize, Dramatic: Sympathy For Delicious
U.S. Special Jury Prize, Documentary: GASLAND

World Cinema Special Jury Prize, Dramatic: Tatiana Maslany in Grown Up Movie Star
World Cinema Special Jury Prize, Documentary: Enemies Of The People


Directing, U.S. Dramatic: Eric Mendelsohn, 3 Backyards
Directing, U.S. Documentary: Leon Gast, Smash His Camera

Directing, World Dramatic: Juan Carlos Valdivia, Southern District
Directing, World Documentary: Christian Frei, Space Tourists


Cinematographcy, U.S. Dramatic: Zak Mulligan, Obselidia
Cinematography, U.S. Documentary: Kirsten Johnson & Laura Poitras, The Oath

Cinematographcy, World Dramatic: Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat, The Man Next Door
Cinematography, World Documentary: Kate McCullough & Michael Lavelle, His & Hers


Editing, U.S. Documentary: Penelope Falk, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work
Editing, World Documentary: Joëlle Alexis, A Film Unfinished

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone
World Cinema Screenwriting Award: Juan Carlos Valdivia, Southern District


Best Of NEXT: Homewrecker

I don’t have a whole lot to say about these awards. I was a big fan of Restrepo, Animal Kingdom and Smash His Camera, all of which won major prizes, and I’m very happy that my favorite film of the fest Winter’s Bone was one of only two movies to get cited more than once. I’m also surprised that no awards went to Blue Valentine, which was Nathan’s favorite entry… and which I didn’t get to see.


In fact, if there was a dominant theme at this year’s Sundance, it wasn’t the “cinematic rebellion” touted by the fest’s overlords, but “I got shut out.” After a relatively mellow year in 2009, Sundance in 2010 was hopping again: the buses were full, the streets were full, and the party invites were thick on the ground. Credit may be due to new festival director John Cooper, who took over from Geoff Gilmore after the latter’s 18-year tenure ended last year. Or the credit may be due to Gilmore’s last hurrah in '09, which introduced the likes of Precious and Moon and made Sundance a buzz-factory again.

Outside of Park City, I’m not sure how many people were paying attention to Sundance this year, but inside the bubble, there was a real crush, as fest-goers followed the hype surrounding movies like Winter’s Bone, Blue Valentine and Catfish (which wasn’t part of the competition, but was definitely a crowd favorite) and discovered to their chagrin that even a ticket in hand didn’t guarantee entry to some of the hottest titles. The critics, meanwhile, quickly learned that we weren’t going to be able to mosey up to press screenings right before the opening credits anymore. We spent our days rushing out of a cramped multiplex and into a heated tent to be herded through winding lines right back into the same multiplex—that is, if we could get in.


On the other hand, our patience was rewarded with a pretty solid slate of cinema. I personally didn’t see anything I felt was worse than “average,” and I saw a lot that I’d recommend—in some cases enthusiastically. I predict you’ll be hearing a lot about Winter’s Bone, Catfish, Four Lions, Restrepo, The Tillman Story, Animal Kingdom, Buried and happythankyoumoreplease in the coming year, and I’m hopeful that some less splashy films like Please Give, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Smash His Camera, Splice and My Perestroika get their due. If you haven’t had the chance yet, I invite you to read back through the coverage of this year’s festival by Nathan and myself. I think you’ll find a lot of movies that you’ll want to see.

As a final wrap, here’s a round-up of the Sundance films I saw, organized by grade (adjusted from the original report in some cases), with rankings within the grade-groupings:

Winter’s Bone

Exit Through The Gift Shop
Please Give
Smash His Camera
A Prophet

Four Lions
The Tillman Story
Animal Kingdom
Cane Toads: The Conquest
Louis C.K.: Hilarious
My Perestroika
His & Hers


The Extra Man
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
The Company Men
Get Low
Bran Nue Dae

The Killer Inside Me
I Am Love
The Taqwacores
The Runaways

The Perfect Host