Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s Restrepo, David Michod’s Animal Kingdom, and Mads Bruegger’s The Red Chapel were the four top jury prize winners at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone chronicles a teenage girl’s difficult passage to full-fledged adulthood in the rural Ozarks, while the documentary Restrepo follows a group of American soldiers in war torn Afghanistan. In the Australian drama Animal Kingdom, starring Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Luke Ford, and Joel Edgerton, a Melbourne crime family reaches a crisis point, while in the documentary The Red Chapel Danish filmmaker Brueggers takes a quirky look inside mysterious North Korea.
Audience awards for American productions went to actor-writer-director Josh Radnor’s New York-set comedy Happythankyoumoreplease and to Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman, which gives an "F" to the American public schools system. The foreign winners were Peruvian writer-director Javier Fuentes-Leon’s sexually charged ghost story Contracorriente / Undertow and British filmmaker Lucy Walker’s Waste Land, which offers a portrait of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s photographic project featuring recycled-garbage pickers in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
The best US directors were Eric Mendelsohn for the slice-of-life narrative feature 3 Backyards and Leon Gast for the documentary Smash His Camera, about yesteryear paparazzo Ron Galella. World Cinema best director winners were Bolivian Juan Carlos Valdivia for Southern District, about a privileged family trying to cope with the changing times, and Swiss Christian Frei for Space Tourists, a documentary about wealthy people who pay loads of money to become a sort of space cadets.
The Waldo Salt awards for screenwriting went to Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for Winter’s Bone and to Juan Carlos Valdivia for Southern District.
Photos: Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival