Sundance Awards 2012: 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' And 'The House I Live In' Win Grand Jury Prizes, 'The Surrogate' Cast

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.

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