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Sundance 2011 Crowns Its Winners

Winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival is no small accomplishment. The competition to just get into the Festival is fierce (150 films chosen out of over 2000 submissions.....ouch). However, winning the top prizes is still no assurance that the films will be widely seen or make any dent at the box office. Some years, the top prize winners have barely registered beyond the festival circuit. In others, such as last year's winner WINTER'S BONE, the win at Sundance led to an outstanding showing at the box office and 4 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay. Of course, this year's crop of winners are hoping that lightning will, in fact, strike twice and that the high profile given to the following films will bear fruit for both the filmmaker's career and a distributor's ambition for an industry success.

LIKE CRAZY, a romantic drama by Drake Doremus, was the big winner in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. The film tells the tale of a young American guy and a young British girl who meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship. The film was one of several to be picked up for distribution at the Festival, with Paramount Pictures getting extensive North American and international rights. The film stars former child star Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar this year for WINTER'S BONE. Doremus has emerged as a distinct indie voice based on his two previous films, SPOONER (2009) and DOUCHEBAG (2010), the latter also a Sundance world premiere.

HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, a bracing documentary on physician-assisted suicide took the top documentary honors. The film follows several terminally ill patients who make the decision to end their lives in the state of Oregon, one of three localities that allow the end-of-life procedure. The film, directed by Peter D. Richardson, was produced by HBO Documentary Films and will be seen on the pay cable network later this year (with a possible limited theatrical run before its television appearance).

The Norwegian comic drama HAPPY HAPPY won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Dramatic competition. Written and directed by Anne Sewitsky, the film focuses on the perfect housewife, who just happens to be sex-starved and struggling to keep her emotions in check when an attractive family moves in next door. TYRANNOSAUR, a dramatic film about domestic abuse, is the feature directing and writing debut of British actor-turned-director Paddy Considine. He won the Best Director honors, as well as a Special Jury Prize for the acting ensemble of Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan and Olivia Coleman.

HELL AND BACK AGAIN, a sobering look at the war in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of one Marine from combat to rehabilitation, was the grand prize winner in the World Documentary section, winning Best Film and Best Cinematography honors. The film is directed by UK documentarian Danfung Dennis, with funding coming from British broadcast Channel Four Films.

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor


Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic:
Like Crazy

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary:
How To Die In Oregon

World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic:
Happy, Happy

World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary:
Hell and Back Again

Dramatic Audience Award:

Documentary Audience Award:

World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award:

World Cinema Documentary Audience Award:

The Best of NEXT Audience Award:

Directing Award, Dramatic:
Martha Marcy May Marlene, directed by Sean Durkin

Directing Award, Documentary:
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, directed by Jon Foy

World Cinema Directing Award, Dramatic:
Tyrannosaur, directed by Paddy Considine

World Cinema Directing Award, Documentary:
Project Nim, directed by James Marsh

Waldo Scott Screenwriting Award:
Another Happy Day

World Cinema Screenwriting Award:

Documentary Editing Award:
If a Tree Falls

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award:
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Dramatic:

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Documentary:
The Redemption of General Butt Naked

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Dramatic:
All Your Dead Ones

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Documentary:
Hell and Back Again

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic (Acting):
Felicity Jones for “Like Crazy”

Special Jury Prize: Dramatic:
Another Earth

Special Jury Prize: Documentary:
Being Elmo

World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Documentary
Position Among The Stars

World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic
Tyrannosaur, for acting

Alfred P. Sloan Prize
Another Earth, directed by Mike Cahill

Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award:
Cherien Dabis

The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking:
Brick Novax pt 1 and 2, Director and Screenwriter: Matt Piedmont

The Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking :
Deeper Than Yesterday, Director and Screenwriter: Ariel Kleiman

The Shorts Jury Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking to:
Choke, Drector and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer

Diarchy, Director and Screenwriter: Ferdinando Cito Filmomarino)es.

The External World, Director and Screenwriter: David O’Reilly
The Legend of Beaver Dam, Director: Jerome Sable; Screenwriters: Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion

Out of Reach, Director and Screenwriter: Jakub Stozek

Protoparticles, Director and Screenwriter: Chema García Ibarra

The Dailies from Sundance on

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