SXSW Film Festival Unveils Award Winners For Canceled 2020 Edition

SXSW 2020

Following its abrupt cancellation earlier this month due concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, SXSW on Tuesday announced the 2020 award winners for the 27th annual film festival.

After being forced to shut down a week before its scheduled March 13 kickoff, SXSW director of film Janet Pierson revealed alternative plans that included providing screening links to allow jurors to see and hand out awards to the fest’s competition films.

While no Audience Awards were handed out, Jury Awards were selected from the narrative feature and documentary feature competition categories as well as short films and other juried sections such as the Film Design award.

Among the winners were Shithouse, from director Cooper Raiff, and the Angel Kristi Williams-directed Really Love starring  Kofi Siriboe and Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing. (See the full list of winners below.) In addition, special awards included Adobe Editing Award, Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, Final Draft Screenwriters Award, Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, Vimeo Staff Pick Award, and the ZEISS Cinematography Award.

This year’s program would have had 135 films, 75 of them from first-time filmmakers. The lineup included 119 shorts, 14 episodic pilots, 30 Title Design Entries, and 27 virtual cinema projects.

“When we curated and announced our slate for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, filled with an array of wonderful films we were excited to share with our unique audience, we had no idea of the unprecedented impact that coronavirus would have on all our lives,” said Pierson. “Our hearts were broken for all the filmmakers who invested so much time and talent in their work, hoping for a transformative experience at our event. We’re honored to at least be able to present our juried and special awards. We know that it’s no substitute for the actual festival’s vitality, enthusiasm, and potential for surprising outcomes — and that it is only available to a small fraction of our program — but we hope it will help garner some well-deserved recognition for these wonderful works.”

Here are this year’s winners:

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards


Winner: Shithouse
Director: Cooper Raiff

Special Jury Recognition for Directing
Directors: Celine Held, Logan George

Special Jury Recognition for Acting
Really Love
Director: Angel Kristi Williams
Actors: Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing


Winner: An Elephant in the Room
Director: Katrine Philp

Special Jury Recognition for Achievement in Documentary Storytelling
The Donut King
Director: Alice Gu

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice
Finding Yingying
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Short Film Grand Jury Awards


Winner: White Eye
Director: Tomer Shushan

Special Jury Recognition for Acting
Director: Matthew Puccini
Actors: Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn

Special Jury Recognition
Director: Saim Sadiq

Special Jury Recognition
Director: Ashley Eakin


Winner: No Crying at the Dinner Table
Director: Carol Nguyen

Special Jury Recognition
Directors: Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane

Special Jury Recognition

Día de la Madre
Directors: Ashley Brandon, Dennis Höhne


Winner: Regret
Director: Santiago Menghini

Special Jury Recognition
Laura Hasn’t Slept
Director: Parker Finn

Special Jury Recognition for Creature Design
Director: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling


Winner: Symbiosis
Director: Director: Nadja Andrasev

Special Jury Recognition
No, I Don’t Want to Dance!
Director: Andrea Vinciguerra

Special Jury Recognition
The Shawl
Director: Sara Kiener


Winner: 070 Shake – “Nice to Have”
Director: Noah Lee

Special Jury Recognition for Animation
Mitski – “A Pearl”
Director: Saad Moosajee, Art Camp

Special Jury Recognition for Direction
The Lumineers – “Gloria”
Director: Kevin Phillips


Winner: Just Hold On
Director: Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi

Special Jury Recognition
Coup d’etat Math
Director: Sai Selvarajan


Winner: Wish Upon a Snowman
Director: Miu Nakata

Special Jury Recognition: Narrative
Winner: Ultimatum
Director: Kai Hashimoto

Special Jury Recognition: Documentary
Winner: Unveiled
Director: Sofia Bajwa

Special Jury Recognition: Animation
Winner: The Orchard
Director: Zeke French


Winner: Embrace
Director: Jessica Sanders

Special Jury Recognition for Drama
Chemo Brain
Director: Kristian Håskjold

Special Jury Recognition for Comedy
Lusty Crest
Director: Kati Skelton

SXSW Film Design Awards


Winner: Laura Hasn’t Slept
Designer: Olivier Courbet

Special Jury Recognition
The Donut King
Designer: Andrew Hem & Charlie Le


Winner: See
Designer: Karin Fong

Special Jury Recognition
Why We Hate
Designers: Allison Brownmoore, Anthony Brownmoore

SXSW Special Awards

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
Presented to: In and of Itself
Director: Frank Oz

Adobe Editing Award
Presented to: You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Editor: Paul Rogers and Additional Editing By David Darg

Final Draft Screenwriters Award
Presented to: Best Summer Ever
Screenwriters: Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
Winner: Miss Juneteenth
Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples

LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD Special Jury Recognition for Acting:
Winner: Rob Morgan from Bull
Director: Annie Silverstein

LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD Special Jury Recognition for Documentary:
Winner: Boys State
Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Vimeo Staff Picks Award
Presented to: Vert
Director: Kate Cox

ZEISS Cinematography Award
Winner: Echoes of the Invisible
Director: Steve Elkins

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