#SUNDANCE: SUNDANCE 2021 AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
By Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Though Sundance had to adjust to the pandemic, they were able to offer a slew of content in their program. It screened 71 Features, 50 Shorts, 4 Indie Series, and 14 New Frontier Projects.
Some films were lucky enough to be bought ahead of the Festival, such as Together Together, The Most Beautiful Boy in the World and Prisoners of the Ghostland. And some were acquired following their Sundance debut, such as Feature films CODA, Flee, Jockey and Cryptozoo. The former sold of a record-smashing $25 million to Apple Studios. Along with Documentaries Ailey and Playing With Sharks. Make sure you keep an eye out in the future for these titles.
Tonight was the Awards Ceremony hosted by Patton Oswald. Some presenters included Alison Brie and Diego Luna. Check out the list of winners below.
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: CODA
Audience Award: CODA
Directing: Siân Heder (CODA)
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Ari Katcher and Rya Welch (On The Count of Three)
Special Jury Award for Acting: Clifton Collins Jr (Jockey)
Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble: CODA
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: Summer of Soul… (Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Audience Award: Summer of Soul… (Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Directing: Natalia Almada (Users)
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno (Homeroom)
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt (Cusp)
Special Jury Award for Non-Fiction Experimentation: Theo Anthony (All Light, Everywhere)
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: Hive
Audience Award: Hive
Directing Award: Blerta Basholli (Hive)
Special Jury Award for Acting: Jesmark Scicluna (Luzzu)
Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: One For The Road
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: Flee
Audience Award: Writing With Fire
Directing Award: Hogir Hirori (Sabaya)
Special Jury Award: Verite Filmmaking: President
Special Jury Award: Impact for Change: Writing With Fire
NEXT Audience Award: Ma Belle, My Beauty
NEXT Innovator Award: Cryptozoo
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: Son of Monarchs
Short Film Grand Jury Award: Lizard
Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction: The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: Bambirak
Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction: Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma
Jury Prize for Animation: Souvenir Souvenir
Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: Serhat Karaaslan (The Criminals)
Special Jury Award for Acting: Breanna Gibson (Wiggle Room)
(Photo credit: Sundance)
#SUNDANCE: “SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
This Documentary recalls summer concert series, The Harlem Cultural Festival which took place in 1969. The event was one that celebrated Black culture and music; however, many don’t know about it. That’s because reporters decided to cover Woodstock which happened the same year. So the footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival has sat in a basement for 50 years. Until now.
Director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson brings the Harlem Cultural Festival to the screen through archival footage and recent interviews with those who attended the Festival. The use of the never-before-seen archival footage brings us right into the beauty of the summer series. We experience watching musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and more. We listen to their music but also their inspiring words.
Additionally, the archival footage shows us what the Media’s focus was on at the time and the experiences of people living in Harlem. The Media was focused on the successes of white America, such as the landing on the moon. While those attending the Festival were focused on how the Government could allocate money to help diminish the high rates of poverty.
The recent interviews are powerful. The Musicians were honoured to be there to celebrate Black culture and music. The attendees, there were over 300,000 people who attended that summer, speak about how it felt to be celebrating themselves. During the interviews, Thompson plays the footage. In doing so, you watch emotional moments as they relive one of the most special times in their lives.
Summer of Soul finally brings this Festival to the screen and has a strong message. It’s an examination of the importance of history to the human spirit. The Harlem Cultural Festival celebrated the Black Community and for 50 years it has been erased from history. When history is ignored it hinders the hearts of minds of those who lived through it, but also generations that follow.
Summer of Soul (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) screens at Sundance:
Live Premiere: January 28 at 10 PM (EST)
On-Demand (available for 24 hours): January 30 at 10 AM (EST)
#SUNDANCE: 2020 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Sundance is evolving for the 2021 festival and going predominantly virtual with limited drive-in screenings across the U.S. Although the festival is only running for seven days, its screening 71 Features, 50 Shorts, 4 Indie Series, and 14 New Frontier Projects. The Festival continues to include more diverse filmmaking voices. Of this year’s 139 films: 50% are directed by one or more women; 4% are directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 50% are directed by one or more artists of color, and 15% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding many films screening at this year’s fest, and we are highly anticipating many of its feature film picks. Check out our Top Ten, in no particular order, programmes listed in parantheses.
Director & Screenwriter: Dash Shaw
>It’s rare Sundance includes an Animated Feature in their selection so we are expecting great things. It follows cryptokeepers who question if they should display or keep hidden the majestical beasts they find. The characters are voiced by Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Zoe Kazan just to name a few.
JOCKEY [U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION]
Director & Screenwriter: Clint Bentley
An ageing jockey in ill health attempts to win one more championship, but things turn upside down when a young jockey claims to be his son. This is Bentley’s first-feature as a director and his cast includes Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker and Moises Arias.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH [PREMIERES]
Director & Co-Screenwriter: Shaka King
We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. It follows William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) who was offered a plea deal to infiltrate the Black Panther Party with the intent to gain intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). It has a powerhouse supporting cast consisting of Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders and more.
This arrives February 12, 2021.
Director: Robin Wright (Variety’s 2021 Directors to Watch)
Wright makes her feature-film directorial debut and stars in this poignant story of a woman searching for meaning in the American wilderness, following an unfathomable event.
This will be released February 12, 2021.
ON THE COUNT OF THREE [U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION]
Director: Jerrod Carmichael
Sundance’s synopsis of Carmichael’s (The Carmichael Show) directorial feature debut is: “Two guns. Two best friends. And a pact to end their lives when the day is done.” It’s also got one killer cast: Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J.B Smoove, Lavell Crawford and Henry Winkler.
PASSING [U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION]
Director & Screenwriter: Rebecca Hall
Based on the novella by Nella Larsen, this film follows two African American women who can “pass” as white and choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. It has a stellar cast consisting of Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård and Bill Camp.
PRISONERS OF A GHOSTLAND [PREMIERES]
Director: Sion Sono
Nicolas Cage and popular Japanese filmmaker Sono team up in this film that Cage has stated is his wildest yet. It follows a notorious criminal who is sent to rescue a woman who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe.
SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) [U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION]
Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
This Film documents the Harlem Cultural Festival, which took place the same summer as Woodstock. The festival celebrated African-American music and culture and promoted Black pride and culture.
Co-Directors & Co-Screenwriters: Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli
Coming off the buzz from its TIFF premiere, this Canadian film is now travelling stateside. It follows Miriam (Sims-Fewer) whose quest for revenge is sparked when her sister and brother-in-law betray her.
A Canadian release has been confirmed for March 26, 2021 for this.
WILD INDIAN [U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION]
Director & Screenwriter: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. (Variety’s 2021 Directors to Watch)
Years after covering up a savage murder of a schoolmate, two men confront how their secret has shaped their lives. It stars Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, and more.
Although these films are geoblocked to the U.S, there are many free events happening virtually around the globe. Some of the events happening are: The Sundance Dailies, The Cinema Cafe, The Big Question, Awards Night and more.
Friday, January 29–Tuesday, February 2, 9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
These take place every morning with Tabitha Jackson and others. Guests include: Eugenio Derbez (CODA), Rebecca Hall (Passing), Ed Helms (Together Together), Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein (How It Ends), and more.
Friday, January 29–Monday, February 1, 10:30 a.m.–11:15 a.m
These cultural conversations with fascinating subjects could go just anywhere. This year we have:
Shaka King & Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Friday, January 29, 10:30 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Sonia Manzano & Rita Moreno
Saturday, January 30, 10:30 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Rebecca Hall & Robin Wright
Sunday, January 31, 10:30 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Tyson Brown, Patti Harrison & Emilia Jones
Monday, February 1, 10:30 a.m.–11:15am
Friday, January 29–Monday, February 1, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m., individual slots TBA
THE BIG CONVERSATION
These conversations tackle science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. Topics include LGBTQ+ film, women at Sundance, race and more.
This takes place Tuesday, February 2, 6:00 p.m. and is free for all to view on the Sundance online screening platform.
For information about films, events and more head to: https://festival.sundance.org/.
Stay tuned for our continued coverage as we bring you reviews daily of the most-buzzed films throughout the Festival.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 28 to February 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Warner Bros.)