SXSW: ‘Alice’, ‘For Sama’ Among Feature Film Grand Jury Award Winners


The SXSW Film Festival unveiled the 2019 Jury and Special Award winners for 26th edition of the fest at Austin’s Paramount Theater with Josephine Mackerras-directed drama Alice winning in the Narrative Feature Competition and Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts’s For Sama taking top honors for the Documentary Feature Competition. Short films and other juried sections, including Film Design Awards were also presented.

‘For Sama’ SXSW

Alice follows the titular character, a happy and perfect wife and mother whose life is turned upside down when she discovers her husband is living a secret life. She is left abandoned, financially ruined but fights back as she goes on a journey of self-discovery. For Sama tells the epic story of a young woman’s journey through love, war and motherhood across five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria.

SXSW also announced Special Awards including the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship, the Vimeo Staff Picks Award, the ZEISS Cinematography Award, the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, and the CherryPicks Female First Feature Award. All Audience and Virtual Cinema Awards will be announced March 16. Winners from the Headliners and 24 Beats categories will be announced March 18.

Read the full list of honorees from the first wave of SXSW Film Festival winners below.

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards


Winner: Alice
Director: Josephine Mackerras

Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble: Yes, God, Yes
Director: Karen Maine

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice: Saint Frances
Director: Alex Thompson


Winner: For Sama
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Special Jury Recognition for Empathy in Craft : Ernie & Joe 
Director: Jenifer McShane

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence in Storytelling: Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy 
Director: Elizabeth Carroll

Short Film Grand Jury Awards


Winner: Liberty 
Director: Faren Humes

Special Jury Recognition: The Orphan
Director: Carolina Markowicz


Winner: Exit 12
Director: Mohammad Gorjestani

Special Jury Recognition: All Inclusive
Director: Corina Schwingruber Ilić


Winner: Other Side of the Box 
Director: Caleb J. Phillips


Winner: Guaxuma 
Director: Nara Normande

Special Jury Recognition: Slug LIfe 
Director: Sophie Koko Gate


“Hurray for The Riff Raff” – Pa’Lante
Director: Kristian Mercado

Special Jury Recognition: “Quarrel” – Moses Sumney
Directors: Allie Avital, Moses Sumney


Winner: I Am Mackenzie
Director: Artemis Anastasiadou

Special Jury Recognition: A Line Birds Cannot See
Director: Amy Bench


Winner: Fifteen
Director: Louisa Baldwin

Special Jury Recognition: Double Cross
Director: Amiri Scrutchin


Winner: Maggie
Director: Sasha Gordon

Special Jury Recognition: Revenge Tour
Directors: Andrew Carter, Kahlil Maskati

SXSW Film Design Awards


Winner: Daniel Isn’t Real
Designer: Jock
Design Company: 4twenty limited


Winner: Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Directors: Brian Mah, James Ramirez

Special Jury Recognition: The Darkest Minds
Director: Michelle Dougherty

SXSW Special Awards

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship is a year-long experience that encourages and champions the talent of an emerging documentary editor. Awarded annually, the fellowship was created to honor the memory of gifted editor Karen Schmeer.

Presented to: Victoria Chalk
“This playfully macabre and awkwardly silly take on masculinity had us laughing out loud. For many of us, there’s never a ‘right time’ to meet your partner’s parents, but the main actor in this short plays every wrong moment just right.”

Vimeo Staff Picks Award
Vimeo is excited to announce the second annual Vimeo Staff Pick Award here at SXSW. Short films featured in the Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Midnight, 360/VR, and Texas Shorts competitions are eligible for this award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize and, of course, a Vimeo Staff Pick. The winning film will be released on Vimeo on Wednesday, March 13.

Presented to: Milton directed by Tim Wilkime

ZEISS Cinematography Award
For over a 100 years, ZEISS has been making lenses for cinematography, to support filmmaking at all levels.  The cinematographers of these films have worked extremely hard to bring you the very best imagery in storytelling and it is their vision which gives life to the director’s story, and for that, we say thank you.

Winner: Amazonia Groove
Director: Bruno Murtinho

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
To honor SXSW co-founder/director Louis Black, a jury prize was created in 2011 called the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, presented to a feature film world premiering at SXSW that was shot primarily in Texas or directed by a current resident of Texas. (Opt-in Award)
Winner: The River and the Wall
Director: Ben Masters

SXSW Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
In honor of a filmmaker whose work strives to be wholly its own, without regard for norms or desire to conform. The Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award is presented to a filmmaker from our Visions screening category.

Presented to: Tito directed by Grace Glowicki

CherryPicks Female First Feature Award

Winner: Alice
Director: Josephine Mackerras

CherryPicks Special Recognition:

Winner: Days of the Whale
Director: Catalina Arroyave Restrepo

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