LOS ANGELES, Jan 28, (Agencies): “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” a powerful drama about the real-life controversial practice of gay conversion therapy, came away with the top prize as the Sundance Film Festival wrapped Saturday.
Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, it delighted and shocked audiences at its world premiere in the Utah mountains with its story of a teenage girl forced into therapy after being caught having a sexual encounter with the prom queen.
Its director Desiree Akhavan had pre-recorded an acceptance speech for the grand jury prize in Sundance’s “US dramatic competition” section but it could not be played on a night beset by technical difficulties.
“Kailash,” about one man’s crusade to end child slavery, won best US documentary while the US dramatic audience award — the second prize to the grand jury award — went to Andrew Heckler’s “Burden.”
The US documentary directing prize went to Alexandria Bombach for “On Her Shoulders,” — a portrait of a Yazidi girl who survived sexual slavery at the hands of the Islamic State group — while the US documentary audience award went to “The Sentence.”
“Butterflies” came away with the grand jury prize for world drama while “Of Fathers and Sons,” a study of jihadi radicalization in the home, from celebrated Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki, won the world cinema documentary competition.
The Sundance Film Festival, founded by actor Robert Redford, is considered a showcase for independent and documentary films, and festival winners often go on to receive critical acclaim and Hollywood awards season glory.
Among the titles from the 2017 edition of the festival picking up trophies at Hollywood’s various ceremonies are Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” which played out of competition as a midnight screening.
The dark comedy has four Oscar nominations, including best film, director and screenplay.
“Call Me by Your Name,” which director Luca Guadagnino took to last year’s Sundance, also has four Oscar nominations, including best picture.
Dee Rees’s “Mudbound,” picked up by Netflix for a considerable $12.5 million at last year’s festival, has Academy nods for adapted screenplay, supporting actress, cinematography and original song.
Here is a full list of prizewinners from Saturday’s awards:
* Grand Jury Prize: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”
* Audience Award: “Burden”
* Directing: Sara Colangelo, “The Kindergarten Teacher”
* Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Christina Choe, “Nancy”
* Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature: Reinaldo Marcus Green, “Monsters and Men”
* Special Jury Award for Excellence in Filmmaking: Reed Morano, “I Think We’re Alone Now”
* Special Jury Award for Acting: Benjamin Dickey, “Blaze”
* Grand Jury Prize: “Kailash”
* Audience Award: “The Sentence”
* Directing: Alexandria Bombach, “On Her Shoulders”
* Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: “Crime + Punishment”
* Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
* Special Jury Award for Storytelling: “Three Identical Strangers”
* Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking: “Minding the Gap”
World Cinema Drama
* Grand Jury Prize: “Butterflies”
* Audience Award: “The Guilty”
* Directing Award: Isold Uggadottir, “And Breathe Normally”
* Special Jury Award for Acting: Valeria Bertuccelli, “The Queen of Fear”
* Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: Julio Chavezmontes and Sebastian Hofmann, “Time Share”
* Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting: “Dead …”
World Cinema Documentary
* Grand Jury Prize: “Of Fathers and Sons”
* Audience Award: “This is Home”
* Directing Award: Sandi Tan, “Shirkers”
* Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling: Steven Loveridge, “M.I.A.”
* Special Jury Award for Editing: “Our New President”
* Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Maxim Arbugaev, Peter Indergand “Genesis 2.0”
LOS ANGELES: HBO has acquired US television and streaming rights to the documentary feature film “The Sentence” in the wake of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
First-time filmmaker Rudy Valdez’s movie centers on the aftermath of his sister Cindy Shank’s incarceration and explores the consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing. Shank received a 15-year mandatory sentence in 2008 for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend.
Valdez’s method of coping with the tragedy was to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones. Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Shank’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative.
“The Sentence” was produced by Park Pictures’ Sam Bisbee and Jackie Kelman Bisbee. Executive producers are Wendy Neu, Lance Acord and Theodora Dunlap. Co-producers are Geeta Gandbhir and April Hayes.
HBO plans to debut the film later this year. Cinetic handled domestic sales on the title.
Valdez said, “This film has been more than ten years in the making and we wanted to make sure we found the right home, especially given the intimate nature of the story. In partnering with HBO, we’re excited about working together to get this film out into the world and make as huge an impact as possible.”