‘Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’ Takes Top Dramatic Honors At Sundance; Is It The Next ‘Whiplash’? – Winners List

By Dominic Patten, Patrick Hipes

UPDATED with details and quotes: The Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony tonight in Park City saw a dramatic dual decision and strong political voices to put a cap on a hot-deals festival. Like last year, when Whiplash took both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award on its way to an Best Picture Oscar nomination, the much-sought Me And Earl And The Dying Girl took both this year.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon“I want to dedicate this to all the young filmmakers in my hometown of Laredo, Texas,” said director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon onstage. Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush teamed to land the pic earlier this week after frenzied bidding, with a 2015 release planned. The Jesse Andrews script follows Greg, who is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But both his anonymity and friendship threaten to unravel when his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia. Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and  Molly Shannon star.

Lance Acord, Sarah Flack, Winona Ryder and director Edgar Wright made up the U.S. Dramatic jury along with True Detective Season 1 director Cary Fukunaga, who got groans from the crowd tonight when he half-joked, “I think I’ve won an award every time I’ve been here” while presenting the Directing Award to The Witch’s Robert Eggers. The director made a point of thanking the Sundance Institute “for all those grants.” The film, set in 1630s New England, was acquired by A24 fairly early in the festival.

The Wolfpack won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize. “I stalked these kids on the streets one year and here I am,” said director Crystal Moselle of the film-obsessed Angulo brothers highlighted in the docu. “I know you’re watching this and I f*cking love you!” she said to applause from the crowd.

Sundance AwardsComedian Tig Notaro hosted the sometimes freewheeling and often passionate ceremony from the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse. It got off to a perfect start for upcoming and established filmmakers in the room: Going up to accept the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award For Unparalleled Access for The Chinese Mayor, Qi Zhao called himself “a God damn good asshole producer” to laughs from the crowd.

On a more serious note, politics were very much a part of tonight’s ceremony. “I don’t think we can stop Russia with bombs but I think with maybe with a little bit of art and culture we can make some progress,” said The Russian Woodpecker filmmakers after accepting the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, one of the first awards given out. “Save Ukraine please,” implored Fedor Alexandrovich, the main character in the pic.

NPR’s Michele Norris, a U.S. Documentary juror, told the crowd that “we are a nation in crisis” when it comes to society and young black men. To that end, the Special Jury Award for Social Impact went to the Marc Silver-directed 3 1/2 Minutes. The Particpent Media docu about the shooting death of black teenager Jordan Davis and the subsequent trial of his killer, Michael Dunn, was picked up by HBO earlier in the day. “When you hug your sons and your nephews, remember they may not come home,” said Jordan’s father from the stage. “Black lives matter!” he implored the crowd to a standing ovation.

Here is the complete list of winners:


Grand Jury Prize
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Greg is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But both his anonymity and friendship threaten to unravel when his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia. Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon.

Audience Award
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Directing Award
The Witch, Robert Eggers (U.S., Canada)
New England in the 1630s: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life with five children, homesteading on the edge of an impassable wilderness. When their newborn son vanishes and crops fail, the family turns on one another. Beyond their worst fears, a supernatural evil lurks in the nearby wood. Cast: Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger.

Stanford Prison ExperimentWaldo Salt Screenwriting Award
The Stanford Prison Experiment, Tim Talbott
Based on the actual events that took place in 1971, when Stanford professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo created what became one of the most shocking and famous social experiments of all time. Cast: Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan, Johnny Simmons, Olivia Thirlby.

Special Jury Award – Excellence in Cinematography
Diary of a Teenage Girl, Brandon Trost
Minnie Goetze is a 15-year-old aspiring comic-book artist, coming of age in the haze of the 1970s in San Francisco. Insatiably curious about the world around her, Minnie is a pretty typical teenage girl. Oh, except that she’s sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend. Cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Kristen Wiig.

Special Jury Award – Excellence in Editing
Dope, Lee Haugen
Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself. Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky.

Special Jury Award – Collaborative Vision
Advantageous, Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang
In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter, Jules, do all they can to hold on to their joy, despite the instability surfacing in their world. Cast: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim.


WolfpackGrand Jury Prize
The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle
Six bright teenage brothers have spent their entire lives locked away from society in a Manhattan housing project. All they know of the outside is gleaned from the movies they watch obsessively (and re-create meticulously). Yet as adolescence looms, they dream of escape, ever more urgently, into the beckoning world.

Audience Award
Meru, Jimmy Chin, E. Chai Vasarhelyi
Three elite mountain climbers sacrifice everything but their friendship as they struggle through heartbreaking loss and nature’s harshest elements to attempt the never-before-completed Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, the most coveted first ascent in the dangerous game of Himalayan big wall climbing.

Directing Award
Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman (U.S., Mexico)
In this classic western set in the twenty-first century, vigilantes on both sides of the border fight the vicious Mexican drug cartels. With unprecedented access, this character-driven film provokes deep questions about lawlessness, the breakdown of order, and whether citizens should fight violence with violence.

Special Jury Award – Social Impact
3 1/2 Minutes, Marc Silver
On November 23, 2012, unarmed 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis was shot at a Jacksonville gas station by Michael David Dunn. 3½ Minutes explores the aftermath of Jordan’s tragic death, the latent and often unseen effects of racism, and the contradictions of the American criminal justice system.

Special Jury Award – Verite Filmmaking
Western, Bill Ross, Turner Ross
For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas, from Piedras Negras, Mexico, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life. Western portrays timeless American figures in the grip of unforgiving change.

Special Jury Award – Break Out First Feature
(T)error, Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe
With unprecedented access to a covert counterterrorism sting, (T)error develops in real time, documenting the action as it unfolds on the ground. Viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them through the perspective of *******, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned FBI informant.

Special Jury Award – Cinematography
Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman, Matt Porwoll


Grand Jury Prize
Slow West, John Maclean (UK, New Zealand)
Set at the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way. Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius, Rory McCann.

Audience Award – World Cinema Dramatic
Umrika, Prashant Nair (India)
When a young village boy discovers that his brother, long believed to be in America, has actually gone missing, he begins to invent letters on his behalf to save their mother from heartbreak, all the while searching for him. Cast: Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang, Prateik Babbar.

Directing Award
The Summer of Sangaile, Alanté Kavaïté (Lithuania, France, The Netherlands)
Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, near her parents’ lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and, in the process, finds in her teenage love, the only person that truly encourages her to fly. Cast: Julija Steponaitytė, Aistė Diržiūtė.

Special Jury Award – Cinematography
Partisan, Germain McMicking (Australia) — Alexander is like any other kid: playful, curious and naive. He is also a trained assassin. Raised in a hidden paradise, Alexander has grown up seeing the world filtered through his father, Gregori. As Alexander begins to think for himself, creeping fears take shape, and Gregori’s idyllic world unravels. Cast: Vincent Cassel, Jeremy Chabriel, Florence Mezzara.

GlasslandSpecial Jury Award – Acting
Glassland, Jack Reynor (Ireland)
In a desperate attempt to reunite his broken family, a young taxi driver becomes entangled in the criminal underworld. Cast: Jack Reynor, Toni Collette, Will Poulter, Michael Smiley.

Special Jury Award – Acting
The Second Mother, Regina Casé, Camila Márdila (Brazil)
Having left her daughter, Jessica, to be raised by relatives in the north of Brazil, Val works as a loving nanny in São Paulo. When Jessica arrives for a visit 13 years later, she confronts her mother’s slave-like attitude and everyone in the house is affected by her unexpected behavior. Cast: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Lourenço Mutarelli.


Russian WoodpeckerGrand Jury Prize
The Russian Woodpecker, Chad Gracia, UK
A Ukrainian victim of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster discovers a dark secret and must decide whether to risk his life by revealing it, amid growing clouds of revolution and war.

Audience Award – World Cinema Documentary
Dark Horse, Louise Osmond (UK)
The inspirational true story of a group of friends from a workingman’s club who decide to take on the elite “sport of kings” and breed themselves a racehorse.

Directing Award
Dreamcatcher, Kim Longinotto (UK)
Dreamcatcher takes us into a hidden world seen through the eyes of one of its survivors, Brenda Myers-Powell. A former teenage prostitute, Brenda defied the odds to become a powerful advocate for change in her community. With warmth and humor, Brenda gives hope to those who have none.

Special Jury Award – Editing
How To Change The World, Jim Scott (UK, Canada)
In 1971, a group of friends sails into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination. Using rare, archival footage that brings their extraordinary world to life, How to Change the World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.

Special Jury Award – Impact
Pervert Park, Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors (Sweden, Denmark)
Follows the everyday lives of sex offenders in a Florida trailer park as they struggle to reintegrate into society, and try to understand who they are and how to break the cycle of sex crimes being committed.

Special Jury Award – Unparalleled Access
The Chinese Mayor, Hao Zhou (China)
Mayor Geng Yanbo is determined to transform the coal-mining center of Datong, in China’s Shanxi province, into a tourism haven showcasing clean energy. In order to achieve that, however, he has to relocate 500,000 residences to make way for the restoration of the ancient city.

Audience Award – NEXT
James White, Josh Mond
A young New Yorker struggles to take control of his reckless, self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family challenges. Cast: Chris Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh, David Call.

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
(announced Thursday)
The Stanford Prison Experiment, Kyle Patrick Alvarez (U.S.)

(announced Thursday)

Short Film Grand Jury Prize
World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt (U.S.)
A little girl is taken on a mind-bending tour of the distant future.

Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
SMILF, Frankie Shaw (U.S.)
A young single mother struggles to balance her old life of freedom with her new one as mom. It all comes to a head during one particular nap-time when Bridgette invites an old friend over for a visit.

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
Oh Lucy!, Atsuko Hirayanagi (Japan, Singapore, U.S.)
Setsuko, a 55-year-old single so-called office lady in Tokyo, is given a blonde wig and a new identity, Lucy, by her young unconventional English-language teacher. “Lucy” awakens desires in Setsuko she never knew existed.

Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction
The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, Kitty Green (Australia)
Adorned in pink sequins, little girls from across a divided, war-torn Ukraine audition to play the role of Olympic champion figure skater Oksana Baiul, whose tears of joy once united their troubled country.

Short Film Jury Award: Animation
Storm hits jacket, Paul Cabon (France)
A storm reaches the shores of Brittany. Nature goes crazy, two young scientists get caught up in the chaos. Espionage, romantic tension, and mysterious events clash with enthusiasm and randomness.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting
Back Alley, Cécile Ducrocq (France)
Suzanne, a prostitute for 15 years, has her turf, her regular johns, and her freedom. One day, however, young African prostitutes settle nearby, and she is threatened.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Visual Poetry
Object, Paulina Skibińska (Poland)
A creative image of an underwater search in the dimensions of two worlds — ice desert and under water — told from the point of view of the rescue team, of the diver, and of the ordinary people waiting on the shore.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2015/01/sundance-film-festival-award-winners-2015-festival-awards-winner-list-1201363757/