Winter’s Bone, “Animal Kingdom” Win Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival closed with the announcement of its annual awards which included some surprises.

The biggest winner was “Winter’s Bone” which took home the Grand Jury Prize (Drama). The story of an Ozark Mountain girl hunting for her missing father also took home the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Grand Jury Prize (Documentary) went to “Restrepo” which follows a platoon in one of Afghanistan’s most strategically crucial valleys.

The World Cinema Jury Prize (Drama) went to David Michod’s Australian crime drama “Animal Kingdom”, while the World Cinema Jury Prize (Documentary) went to Danish entry “The Red Chapel” about three quite different people visiting North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange visit.

Over in the audience-voted categories, Josh Radnor’s New York-set comedy “happythankyoumoreplease” and Davis Guggenheim’s public education system doco “Waiting for Superman” took home the Audience Awards for dramatic and documentary selections respectively. Javier Fuentes-Leõn’s Peruvian ghost story “Contracorriente (Undertow)” and Lucy Walker’s Brazillian landfill art project doco “Wasteland” too home the World Cinema Audience Awards.

Special Jury Prizes were handed out to Mark Ruffalo’s paraplegic musico drama “Sympathy for Delicious”, Josh Fox’s natural gas doco “Gasland”, and the Cambodian history doco “Enemies of the People”. Actress Tatiana Maslany scored a Special Jury Prize for her breakout performance in Canadian feature “Grown Up Movie Star”.

Directing nods went to Eric Mendelsohn (“3 Backyards”) and Juan Carlos Valdivia (“Southern District”) for dramatic features, and Leon Gast (“Smash His Camera”) and Christian Frei (“Space Tourists”) for documentary. Valdivia’s script for “Southern District” also took home the World Cinema Screenwriting Award.

Documentary editing awards went to “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and “A Film Unfinished”, while cinematography awards went to “Obselidia,” “The Man Next Door,” “The Oath” and “His and Hers”. Zero budget feature “Homewrecker” won The Best of NEXT award.