2023 Sundance Film Festival awards winners: ‘A Thousand and One’ takes home top U.S. Dramatic Prize
The 2023 Sundances Film Festival winners were announced this afternoon in Park City, Utah at an in-person presentation. This year brought the return of the festival’s festivities being in person for the first time since the pandemic. After an eventful week of movie watching, the various jury selections for the festival’s top honors went to A Thousand and One (U.S. Dramatic), Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (U.S. Documentary), Scrapper (World Cinema Dramatic), and The Eternal Memory (World Cinema Documentary).
A.V Rockwell’s redemption drama about a free-spirited woman kidnapping a 6 year old moved audiences to tears all week, earning some of the best reviews out of the festival. The film stars Teyana Taylor, Will Catlett, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Aaron Kingsley Adetola. A Thousand and One will be distributed by Focus Features and is set to release on March 31, 2023, so it won’t be too long before general audiences get to see it.
Also in the U.S. Dramatic competition, the Audience Award and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Awards went to the coming-of-age comedy from director Maryam Kesavarz, The Persian Version. The directing prize went to Sing J. Lee for The Accidental Getaway Driver, a tense thriller about an elderly Vietnamese cab driver taken hostage by three convicts on the run. Rounding out the winners in the U.S. Dramatic was the Special Jury Award for Acting, awarding Lio Mehiel’s fantastic performance in Mutt, as well as the Best Ensemble award to the cast of the musical comedy, Theater Camp, the Special Jury award for Creative vision to the creative team of Elijah Bynum’s Magazine Dreams, and the Festival Favorite Award to Christopher Zalla’s Radical.
The numerous award recipients were comprised of 15 countries, including the United States, India, Ukraine, Chile, Sweden, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Lithuania, France, Australia, Belgium, Germany, China, and Canada. The 2023 Festival showcased 111 feature-length and 64 short films over the entirety of the festival.
This year’s jurors included Jeremy O. Harris, Eliza Hittman, and Marlee Matlin for U.S. Dramatic Competition; W. Kamau Bell, Ramona Diaz, and Carla Gutierrez for U.S. Documentary Competition; Shozo Ichiyama, Annemarie Jacir, and Funa Maduka for World Cinema Dramatic Competition; and Karim Amer, Petra Costa, and Alexander Nanau for World Cinema Documentary Competition; Madeleine Olnek for the NEXT competition section; Destin Daniel Cretton, Marie-Louise Khondji, and Deborah Stratman for the Short Film Program Competition.
Here is the complete list of winners of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival Awards.
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: A Thousand and One (dir. A.V. Rockwell)
Audience Award: The Persian Version (dir. Maryam Keshavarz)
Directing: Sing J. Lee for The Accidental Getaway Driver
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: The Persian Version (Maryam Keshavarz)
Special Jury Award for Acting: Lio Mehiel for Mutt
Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble: The cast of Theater Camp (dir. Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman)
Special Jury Award: Creative Vision: The creative team of Magazine Dreams (dir. Elijah Bynum)
Festival Favorite Award: Radical (dir. Christopher Zalla)
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (dir. Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson)
Audience Award: Beyond Utopia (dir. Madeleine Gavin)
Special Jury Prize, Directing: Luke Lorentzen (A Still Small Voice)
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: Daniela I. Quiroz for Going Varsity in Mariachi
Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision: The Stroll (dir. by Kristen Lovell & Zackary Drucke)
Special Jury Award: Freedom of Expression: Bad Press
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: Scrapper (dir. Charlotte Regan)
Audience Award: Shayda (dir. Noora Niasari)
Directing Award: Marija Kavtaradze (Slow)
Special Jury Award: Cinematography: Lílis Soares for Mami Wata
Special Jury Award, Best Performance: Rosa Marchant for When It Melts
Special Jury Award, Creative Vision: Sofia Alaoui for Animalia
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Grand Jury Prize: The Eternal Memory (dir. Maite Alberdi)
Audience Award: 20 Days in Mariupol (dir. Mstyslav Chernov)
Special Jury Prize, Directing: Anna Hints (Smoke, Sauna Sisterhood)
Special Jury Award, Creative Vision: Fantastic Machine
Special Jury Award, Verité: Against the Tide
Audience Award: “Kokomo City”
Innovator Award: “Kokomo City”
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: “The Pod Generation”
Short Film Special Jury Award: Non-fiction
Will You Look at Me (dirs. Shuli Huang)
Short Film Special Jury Award: International Fiction
The Kidnapping of the Bride (dir. Sophia Mocorrea)
Short Film Special Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
Rest Stop (dir. Crystal Kayiza)
Short Film Grand Jury Award
When You Left Me on That Boulevard (dir. Kayla Abuda Galang)