Giving Voice, the film from James D. Stern and Fernando Villena that had bowed in the Documentary Features section at the Sundance Film Festival, has won the event’s Festival Favorite Award. The honor, separate from the juried and audience awards handed out Saturday as the festival wrapped its 2020 edition, is selected by audience votes from the 128 features screened in Park City this year.
The festival said runners-up for the Festival Favorite Award were On the Record, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s documentary about the female accusers of media mogul Russell Simmons, and Boys State, Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s pic that follows a social experiment in which a thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas join to build a representative government from the ground up.
Boys State won the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary section on Saturday night.
Giving Voice follows the lives of six students as they compete against fellow high schoolers from around the country in the August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York City. As they hone their individual performances, Wilson’s artistry empowers them to find their own voice and persevere in an increasingly complicated world. Stern, Karen Bove, Villena, Schoen Smith and Craig Piligian are producers. Executive producers include Viola Davis and Julius Tennon and John Legend.
“This film is a compelling and inspiring portrait of six remarkable young people as they discover their power,” outgoing festival director John Cooper said Tuesday about Giving Voice. “We’re thrilled that it resonated with audiences at this particularly exciting moment in our culture, where we see the next generation of leaders, artists, and change-makers stepping out, speaking up, and finding their voice.”