Laughter, Tears, And A Group Flip Off At 2012 Sundance Awards Show

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute this evening announced the Jury, Audience, NEXT and other special awards of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony. It was supposed to be hosted by Parker Posey but organizes said she was ill and couldn’t attend.  “Every year the Sundance Film Festival brings to light exciting new directions and fresh voices in independent film, and this year is no different,” said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. “While these awards further distinguish those that have had the most impact on audiences and our jury, the level of talent showcased across the board at the Festival was really impressive, and all are to be congratulated and thanked for sharing their work with us.” Cooper led a tribute to Bingham Ray, the indie exec who passed away during the fest.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival Awards this evening were:

Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic:
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar)
Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under, in this tale of a six year old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world. Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry.
Benh Zeitlin’s acceptance speech: “We should have a thousand people up here. We had more freedom to make this film than any other first time filmmaker has had in America. I hope this movie is a flag that goes up to producers and everyone to allow directors to explore the world creatively and go to the bottom of the earth. It’s great we could be as wild as we could be…”

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary:
The House I Live In
U.S.A. (Director: Eugene Jarecki) — For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet, drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong and what is the path toward healing?
Eugene Jarecki’s acceptance speech: “Many years ago someone in the audience here inspired this film. She inspired me to be concerned about social justice. It set myself and my team on this journey to find out about what’s happening to African American families because of the war on drugs. We have 2.3 million people in prison in this country, more than anywhere else. I hope that this film is a vessel to [show] something that is so tragically immoral. If we’re going to reform things in this country for non violent crime for sentences longer than even murder in this country must end! I thank all those men and women who shared their stories with us and thank Sundance. Perhaps this can send a message out to the country…”

Special Jury Prize Dramatic for Ensemble Acting:
The cast of The Surrogate including John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
U.S.A. — Mark O’Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist in an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he contacts a professional sex surrogate to take him on a journey to manhood.

Special Jury Prize Dramatic For Producers:
Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling for Nobody Walks and Smashed
Nobody Walks / U.S.A. (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young) — Martine, a young artist from New York, is invited into the home of a hip, liberal LA family for a week. Her presence unravels the family’s carefully maintained status quo, and a mess of sexual and emotional entanglements ensues. Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk.
Smashed / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Susan Burke, James Ponsoldt) — Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter and… drinking. When Kate decides to get sober, her new lifestyle brings troubling issues to the surface and calls into question her relationship with Charlie.Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally.

Special Jury Prize Documentary:
Love Free Or Die – directed by Macky Alston
U.S.A. (Director: Macky Alston) — One man whose two defining passions are in conflict: An openly gay bishop refuses to leave the Church or the man he loves.

Special Jury Prize Documentary:
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry – directed by Alison Klayman
U.S.A., China (Director: Alison Klayman) — Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations and increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government.

World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic:
Violeta Went To Heaven – directed by Andres Wood
(Violeta se Fue a Los Cielos) / Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain (Director: Andrés Wood, Screenwriters: Eliseo Altunaga, Rodrigo Bazaes, Guillermo Calderón, Andrés Wood) — A portrait of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra filled with her musical work, her memories, her loves and her hopes. Cast: Francisca Gavilán, Thomas Durand, Luis Machín, Gabriela Aguilera, Roberto Farías. International Premiere

World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary:
The Law In These Parts – directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
Israel (Director: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz) — Israel’s 43-year military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories unfolds through provocative interviews with the system’s architects and historical footage showing the enactment of these laws upon the Palestinian population. International Premiere

Dramatic Audience Award:
The Surrogate – by writer/director Ben Lewin

Documentary Audience Award:
The Invisible War – by Kirby Dick
U.S.A. (Director: Kirby Dick) — An investigative and powerfully emotional examination of the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it.

World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award:
Valley Of Saints – directed by Musa Syee
India, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Musa Syeed) — Gulzar plans to run away from the war and poverty surrounding his village in Kashmir with his best friend, but a beautiful young woman researching the dying lake leads him to contemplate a different future Cast: Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Afzal Sofi, Neelofar Hamid. World Premiere

World Cinema Documentary Audience Award:
Searching For Sugar Man – directed by Malik Bendjelloul
Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul) — Rodriguez was the greatest ‘70s US rock icon who never was. Hailed as the greatest recording artist of his generation he disappeared into oblivion – rising again from the ashes in a completely different context many miles away. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM

The Best of NEXT Audience Award:
Sleepwalk With Me – directed by Mike Birbiglia
U.S.A. (Director: Mike Birbiglia, Screenwriters: Mike Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish) — Reluctant to confront his fears of love, honesty, and growing up, a budding standup comedian has both a hilarious and intense struggle with sleepwalking. Cast: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Carol Kane, James Rebhorn, Cristin Milioti.

Shorts Audience Award:
The Debutante Hunters directed by Maria White

Directing Award, Dramatic:
Ava DuVernay for Middle Of Nowhere
U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay) — When her husband is incarcerated, an African-American woman struggles to maintain her marriage and her identity. Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissaint, Edwina Findley.

Directing Award, Documentary:
Lauren Greenfield – The Queen Of Versailles
U.S.A. (Director: Lauren Greenfield) — Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America – a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles – when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. DAY ONE FILM

World Cinema Directing Award, Dramatic:
Teddy Bear – Mads Matthiesen
Denmark (Director: Mads Matthiesen, Screenwriters: Mads Matthiesen, Martin Pieter Zandvliet) — Dennis, a painfully shy 38-year-old bodybuilder who lives with his mother, sets off to Thailand in search of love. Cast: Kim Kold, Elsebeth Steentoft, Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard, David Winters, Allan Mogensen. World Premiere

World Cinema Directing Award, Documentary:
Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi – 5 Broken Cameras
Palestine, Israel, France (Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi) — A Palestinian journalist chronicles his village’s resistance to a separation barrier being erected on their land and in the process captures his young son’s lens on the world.International Premiere

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award:
Derek Connolly – Safety Not Guaranteed
U.S.A. — A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel. One employee develops feelings for the paranoid but compelling loner and seeks to discover what he’s really up to.

World Cinema Dramatic Screenwriting Award:
Marialy Rivas, Camila Gutierrez, Pedro Periano, Sebastian Sepulveda – Young & Wild
Chile — 17-year-old Daniela, raised in the bosom of a strict Evangelical family and recently unmasked as a fornicator by her shocked parents, struggles to find her own path to spiritual harmony. World Premiere

Documentary Editing Award:
Enat Sidi – Detropia
U.S.A. (Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady) — The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award:
Indie Game: The Movie – Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky
Canada (Directors: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky) — Follow the dramatic journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world. World Premiere

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Dramatic:
Ben Richardson – Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Documentary:
Jeff Orlowski – Chasing Ice
U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Science, spectacle and human passion mix in this stunningly cinematic portrait as National Geographic photographer James Balog captures time-lapse photography of glaciers over several years providing tangible visual evidence of climate change.

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Dramatic:
David Raedeker – My Brother The Devil
United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Sally El Hosaini) — A pair of British Arab brothers trying to get by in gangland London learn the extraordinary courage it takes to be yourself. Cast: James Floyd, Saïd Taghmaoui, Fady Elsayed . World Premiere

World Cinema Cinematography Award, Documentary:
Lars Skree – Putin’s Kiss
Denmark (Director: Lise Birk Pedersen) — 19-year-old Marsha is a model spokesperson in a strongly nationalistic Russian youth movement that aims to protect the country from its enemies. When she starts recognizing the organization’s flaws, she must take a stand for or against it. North American Premiere

World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic:
Can – directed by Rasit Celikezer
Turkey (Director and screenwriter: Rasit Celikezer) — A young married couple live happily in Istanbul, but their decision to illegally procure a child threatens their future together. Cast: Selen Uçer, Serdar Orçin, Berkan Demirbag, Erkan Avci. International Premiere

World Cinema Special Jury prize: Documentary:
Searching For Sugar Man

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Films Prize: (previously announced)
Robot and Frank; Valley Of Saints
Robot and Frank / U.S.A. (Director: Jake Schreier, Screenwriter: Christopher Ford) — A curmudgeonly older dad’s grown kids install a robot as his caretaker. Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM