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.
Sundance 2010 special jury prizes went to the following: Sympathy for Delicious, directed by Mark Ruffalo and written by Christopher Thornton, who starred as a recently paralyzed DJ hooked on faith healing (Orlando Bloom plays a rocker in this one); Josh Fox's documentary GasLand, about the effects of natural gas on air and water; and Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath's Enemies of the People, a chronicle of Cambodia's troubled modern history.
Additionally, Tatiana Maslany won a special jury prize for breakout performance for her precocious teenager in Adriana Maggs' Grown Up Movie Star.
The cinematography awards went to Zak Mulligan for Diane Bell's Obselidia; Kirsten Johnson and Laura Poitras for Poitras' documentary The Oath; Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat for their Argentinean drama about warring neighbors, The Man Next Door; and Kate McCullough and Michael Lavelle for Ken Wardrop's Irish documentary His and Hers.
Editing awards went to Penelope Falk for Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's US documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Joelle Alexis for Yael Hersonski's German/Israeli documentary A Film Unfinished.
The Best of Next award (for films made for less than $50,000) went to Todd and Brad Barnes' screwball comedy Homewrecker, the story of a romantic ex-con locksmith written by the brothers Barnes and Sophie Goodhart. The eight filmmakers taking part in this category voted for the winning film.
Other winners were Diane Bell's Obselidia, which took the Alfred P. Sloan prize for a feature film with a scientific or technology theme; and Jeremy Konner's Drunk History: Douglass and Lincoln and Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland's The Six Dollar Fifty Man in the short films categories.
Photos: Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival