In an unprecedented double coup, Quinceanera, a tender-hearted drama set amongst a Latino community of Los Angeles that is being encroached upon by yuppies, walked home with both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Co-directed by Wash Westmoreland, a British filmmaker, and his partner Richard Glatzer, the crowd-pleasing film was shot in their Echo Park neighbourhood where they live, using many of the local inhabitants in key supporting roles.
Quinceanera, which has yet to secure a US distribution deal, takes its name from the Latin coming-of-age ceremony that marks a girl's fifteenth birthday.
The same double whammy was also achieved in the documentary competition. Christopher Quinn's God Grew Tired Of Us also won the Grand Jury Prize the Audience Award for its portrait of three refugees of Sudan's civil war. Earlier in the week, French sales house TF1 took international sales rights excluding English-speaking territories to the documentary.
French thriller 13Tzameti, by debutscreenwriter-director Gela Babluani, won the World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic while the World Cinema JuryPrize: Documentary was awarded to Mexican title In The Pit, Juan Carlos Rulfo's view into the dangerous livesof bridge builders in that country.
Another Mexican documentary,Tin Dirdamal's De Nadie, anexamination of the immigration crisis between the US and Mexico, earned theWorld Cinema Audience Award in its category while the dramatic winner was NewZealand title No. 2, written anddirected by Toa Fraser and starring Ruby Dee.
Iraq In Fragments, James Longley's exploration of three differentviewpoints in Iraq, was awarded three prizes: Longley, who directed,photographer, produced and composed the score, earned the Documentary DirectingAward and the Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary while sharing thenewly-introduced Documentary Film Editing prize with his colleagues BillyMcMillin and Fiona Otway. There is no editing prize in the DramaticCompetition.
The Dramatic Directing Awardwent to Dito Montiel for A Guide To Recognising Your Saints; the film, which stars Robert Downey, Jr., Shia LaBoeuf, Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest and Channing Tatum, alsoreceived a Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Performance.
The Waldo Salt ScreenwritingAward for outstanding achievement in writing went to writer-director HilaryBrougher for Stephanie Daley, starringTilda Swinton and Timothy Hutton.
The Excellence inCinematography Award in the Dramatic Competition went to Tom Richmond for RightAt Your Door, which posits theimmediate aftermath of a dirty-bomb attack on Los Angeles.
The Documentary Jury awardedSpecial Jury Prizes to director Ian Inaba for American Blackout and to Michael Cain and Matt Radecki for TV Junkie while the Dramatic Jury also presented prizes forIndependent Vision to In Between Days, directed by So Yong Kim and written by Kim and Bradley Rust Gray.
The World Cinema DocumentaryJury gave Special Jury Prizes for Philip Groening's portrait of Carthusianmonks, Into Great Silence and forYonghi Yang, writer and director of Dear Pyongyang, whose father sent her three elder brothers to livein North Korea.
The World Cinema DramaticJury presented a Special Jury Prize to Ever & The Fire Horse, written and directed by Julia Kwan.