Murmur receives Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize while Higher Love takes Documentary Prize.
Audience Awards given to narrative feature Residue and documentary feature Bastards’ Road Shoot to Marry takes home Best of Breakouts Audience Award
Carlota Pereda, director of Piggy, receives AGBO Fellowship, presented by Slamdance alumni Joe and Anthony Russo
PARK CITY, UTAH (January 30, 2020) – The 26th Slamdance Film Festival today announced the winners of their annual Sparky Awards in Audience, Jury, and Sponsored categories. The festival also announced the recipients of their AGBO Fellowship from Slamdance alumni Joe and Anthony Russo, the CreativeFuture Innovation Award, and a curated Acting Award. All winners were announced at a ceremony at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah on Thursday evening, January 30.
“We congratulate the winners of Slamdance 2020 and we celebrate all of our new filmmakers who have shown us that the art of filmmaking is brilliantly alive,” said Slamdance co-founder Peter Baxter. “This next generation collectively brings us art formed in risk taking, bravery and the unexpected. It’s not just their characters who are on an adventure. It’s the filmmakers as well and Slamdance will continue to be their companion.”
2020 Audience Awards were given to three films that captured the hearts of audiences in Park City. Residue, directed by Merawi Gerima, took home the Audience Award for Narrative Feature, while director Brian Morrison’s Bastards’ Road won the 2020 Audience Award for Documentary Feature. Shoot to Marry, directed by Steve Markle, walked away with this year’s Best of Breakouts Audience Award, given to films in the festival’s Breakouts Section, which showcases filmmakers who have made a feature before.
Juries of esteemed filmmakers and industry professionals determined the Slamdance Jury Awards, which are given to films and filmmakers in four categories: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Narrative Shorts, and Animated/Experimental Shorts.
This year’s Narrative Jury Prizes were selected by Joe Leydon, Laurence Kardish, and KJ Relth who awarded the Narrative Feature Grand Jury prize to Murmur directed by Heather Young, with an Honorable Mention given to Residue directed by Merawi Gerima.
About the section’s winning films, the jury stated: “The Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature goes to Murmur, the quietly devastating debut feature from Canadian filmmaker Heather Young. This richly detailed and deeply humane drama offers an insightful and sympathetic portrait of a lonely woman — affectingly portrayed by newcomer Shan McDonald — who goes to self-destructive extremes while attempting to fill the gaping void in her life. An Honorable Mention goes to Merawi Gerima’s mesmerizing first feature, Residue, which is at once inventive, poetic and angry about issues of identity, gentrification and the difficulty of returning home.”
2020 Documentary Jury Prizes were selected by Katja Esson, Beth Barret, Al Bailey who awarded the Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize to Higher Love directed by Hasan Oswald. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Maxima directed by Claudia Sparrow. The Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize went to To Calm the Pig Inside directed by Joanna Vasquez Arong while Umbilical directed by Danski Tang and My Favorite Food is Indian Tacos, my Favorite Drink is Iced Tea and my Favorite Thing is Drumming directed by Derius Matchewan were awarded the Honorable Mention.
“A damning letter to American society, with unflinching and incredible intimate access, the Grand Jury Prize goes to Higher Love, from director Hasan Oswald,” stated the documentary jury. “For one woman’s courage to stand up for her rights, we would like to give an honorable mention to Maxima.”
The 2020 Narrative Shorts Jury Prize was selected by Daniel Casey, Meghan Oretsky, and Andrew Patterson, who gave their Grand Jury Prize to Moving, directed by Adinah Dancyger. Proof, directed by Nishtha Jain, Deepti Gupta, was awarded the Honorable Mention.
“The recipient of the narrative short award is utilitarian, inventive and wholly dynamic. We deeply related to this story that’s more than the sum of its parts, more than its premise alone, and a window into the resilience and inner strength of young women. We are pleased to present the 2020 Slamdance narrative short award to Moving by Adinah Dancyger,” said the jury. “We would like to give an honorable mention to a short film that provides profound and heartbreaking insight into a world that so few of us will ever see. A beautiful and starkly shot film that advocates for strength in silence and unwavering moral resolve, we were struck by its honest and poignant commentary on a topic that isn’t spoken about nearly enough. A special honorable mention goes to Proof by Nishtha Jain and Deepti Gupta.”
Animated and Experimental Shorts jury prizes were selected by Bojana Sandic, Suki-Rose Simakis, and Trent Harris. Animated Shorts and Experimental Shorts Grand Jury prizes went to The Little Soul by Barbara Rupik, and Shooting Stars by Magda Jaroszewicz, with Symbiosis, directed by Nadja Andrasev, and Meteorite by Mauricio Saenz taking home the categories’ respective Honorable Mentions.
The AGBO Fellowship, presented by Slamdance alumni Joe and Anthony Russo along with their colleagues at their AGBO production company, was awarded to Carlota Pereda, director of Piggy. The $25,000 prize is designed to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their journey with mentorship from Joe and Anthony as well as development support from their studio.
“Carlota Pereda’s Piggy is a punch to the face. An accomplished mix of biting social commentary and emotionally devastating filmmaking. We’re extremely proud to present her with this year’s AGBO Fellowship. And we look forward to supporting her work in the future,” said Anthony and Joe Russo.
The 2020 CreativeFuture Innovation Award went to The Little Soul, directed by Barbara Rupik.
Slamdance and CreativeFuture have partnered for years to support new talent in the world of film and to educate creatives on the importance of protecting their work. This award is given to an emerging filmmaker who exhibits the innovative spirit of filmmaking.
“Congratulations to Barbara Rupik for winning Slamdance’s CreativeFuture Innovation Award this year,” said CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale. “Her film, The Little Soul, uses a surreal yet beautiful animation technique to tell a bold, imaginative story. Its combination of artistry and craft exemplifies the innovative spirit of filmmaking, and we look forward to seeing what Barbara does next.”
The George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award, voted on by filmmakers and given to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival, went to Yani Gellman of Greetings, from the Planet Krog!. The festival’s Outstanding Acting Award, which is curated by the Slamdance team, went to Obinna Nwachukwu from the film Residue. An honorable mention was given to Maya Harman from Chubby.
Slamdance’s 2020 feature competition lineup included 16 World, North American, and U.S. Premieres – including films from Belarus, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the United States. In total, 11 narrative and 9 documentary features were showcased in competition. All competition films are feature length directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD, and without US distribution.
This year’s festival boasted the DGA as a major sponsor, Blackmagic Design as a major sponsor, and CreativeFuture, Pierce Law Group, LLP, Final Draft, and Entertainment Partners as awards sponsors.
A full list of winners is below:
Jury Awards | Narrative Features
Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize – Murmur (Dir.: Heather Young)
Honorable Mentions: Residue (Dir.: Merawi Gerima)
Jury Awards | Documentary Features, Documentary Shorts
Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize – Higher Love (Dir.: Hasan Oswald)
Honorable Mention – Maxima (Dir.: Claudia Sparrow)
Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize – To Calm the Pig Inside (Dir.: Joanna Vasquez Arong)
Honorable Mention: Umbilical (Dir.: Danski Tang) and My Favorite Food is Indian Tacos, my Favorite Drink is Iced Tea and my Favorite Thing is Drumming (Dir.: Derius Matchewan)
Jury Awards – Narrative Shorts
Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Moving (Dir.: Adinah Dancyger)
Honorable Mention: Proof (Dir.: Nishtha Jain, Deepti Gupta)
Jury Awards – Experimental Shorts/ Animated Shorts
Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Shooting Stars (Dir.: Magda Jaroszewicz)
Honorable Mention: Meteorite (Dir.: Mauricio Saenz)
Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: The Little Soul (Dir.: Barbara Rupik)
Honorable Mention: Symbiosis (Dir.: Nadja Andrasev)
Slamdance Acting Award:
Obinna Nwachukwu (Residue)
Slamdance Acting Award Honorable Mention:
Maya Harman (Chubby)
George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner:
Yani Gellman of Greetings, from the Planet Krog!
CreativeFuture Innovation Award:
The Little Soul (Dir.: Barbara Rupik)
The AGBO Fellowship, presented by Joe and Anthony Russo, Award Winner:
Carlota Pereda, (Dir.:PIGGY)
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Residue (Dir.: Merawi Gerima)
Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Bastards’ Road (Dir.: Brian Morrison)
Best of Breakouts Audience Award: Shoot to Marry (Dir.: Steve Markle)
By filmmakers, for filmmakers. Established in 1995 by a wild bunch of filmmakers who were tired of relying on a large, oblique system to showcase their work, Slamdance has proven, year after year, that when it comes to recognizing talent and launching careers, independent and grassroots communities can do it themselves.
In addition to the Festival, Slamdance serves emerging artists and a growing community with several year-round initiatives. These include the Slamdance Screenplay Competition, its educational program Slamdance Polytechnic, DIG showcase of Digital Interactive and Gaming art, distribution efforts through Slamdance Presents, worldwide screening series Slamdance on the Road, LA screening series Slamdance Cinema Club, a new Miami edition of the festival, and its newly announced partnership with Arclight Cinemas which will launch Emergence, a four-day festival at Arclight Hollywood, in March 2020.
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