Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire, Lee Daniels' universally acclaimed redemptive tale starring Gabourey Sidibe as a troubled young girl in Harlem, has won the 2009 Sundance US Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize and the audience award. Heading into Saturday night's awards ceremony [January 24] a number of buyers were in pursuit and a North American deal was understood to be imminent.

In the other three grand Jury Prizes, Sebastian Silva's Chilean entry The Maid (La Nana) is named best of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition while Ondi Timoner's We Live In Public won the US Documentary Competition and Kim Longinotto's UK entry Rough Aunties took the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

The Audience Award for US Documentary went to Louie Psihoyos' The Cove. The world documentary prize went to Havana Marking's Afghanistan-UK entry Afghan Star and the world dramatic prize went to Lone Scherfig's UK entry An Education starring British newcomer Carey Mulligan.

The Directing Award for US Dramatic went to Cary Joji Fukunaga's Sin Nombre while Natalia Almada took the US documentary prize for the Mexico-US entry El General. In the world cinema categories Havana Marking won for the documentary Afghan Star and Oliver Hirschbiegel took the dramatic award for Five Minutes Of Heaven.

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was presented to Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi for Paper Heart and the World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented to Guy Hibbert for Five Minutes Of Heaven. The US Documentary Editing Award was presented to Sergio edited by Karen Schmeer while Janus Billeskov Jansen and Thomas Papapetros won world cinema documentary editing honours for their work on Burma VJ.

The Excellence In Cinematography Award for US Documentary went to Bob Richman for The September Issue and the US dramatic prize was awarded to Adriano Goldman for Sin Nombre. The World Cinema Cinematography Award went to John Maringouin's Big River Man and corresponding world dramatic honours were presented to John De Borman for An Education.

A World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Originality was presented to Louise-Michel from France directed by Benoit Delepine and Gustave de Kervern and the World Cinema Special Jury Prize for documentary went to Tibetan entry Tibet In Song by Ngawang Choephel.

A World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Acting was presented to Catalina Saavedra for The Maid (La Nana) and the Special Jury Prize for US Documentary went to Jeff Stilson's Good Hair. A Special Jury Prize for Spirit Of Independence was presented to Lynn Shelton's comedy crowdpleaser Humpday. Mo'Nique won a Special Jury Prize for Acting for Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire.

The 2009 Jury Prize in US Short Filmmaking, presented on January 20, was awarded to Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12 and the International Jury Prize In International Short Filmmaking went to Lies by Jonas Odell.

Honorable Mentions in short film-making went to The Attack Of The Robots From Nebula-5 by Chema Garcia Ibarra, Protect You + Me by Brady Corbet, Western Spaghetti by PES, Jerrycan by Julius Avery, Love You More by Sam Taylor-Wood, I Live In The Woods by Max Winston, Omelette by Nadejda Koseva, and Treevenge by Jason Eisener.

As previously announced Max Mayer's Adam has won this year's Alfred P Sloan Prize while the 2009 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards have gone to Diego Lerman for Ciencias Morales (Moral Sciences) from Argentina, David Riker for The Girl from the US, Qurata Kenji for Speed Girl from Japan, and Lucile Hadzihalilovic for Evolution from France.

'This has been a truly remarkable year for Sundance in ways even we did not fully predict,' Sundance Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore said. 'We opened the festival with animation and closed with science fiction, and in between showcased some of the best films we've ever seen. People ask us how independent film has evolved over the past 25 years and the answer is, quite simply, it's better.'

'We knew this would be an historic year, given our anniversary and the inauguration,' director of programming John Cooper said. 'But I have to say that adding to the excitement and experience was the selection of truly high quality films in this year's competition. We were blown away and so were audiences.'

The US Dramatic Competition festival jury comprised Virginia Madsen, Scott McGehee, Maud Nadler, Mike White and Boaz Yakin. The World Dramatic Competition jurors were Colin Brown (US), Christine Jeffs (New Zealand) and Vibeke Windelov (Denmark).

US Documentary Competition jury consisted of Patrick Creadon, Carl Deal, Andrea Meditch, Sam Pollard and Marina Zenovich. The World Documentary Competition jurors were Gillian Armstrong (Australia), Thom Powers (US); Hubert Sauper (France).

The Shorts Competition jurors were Gerardo Naranjo, Lou Taylor Pucci and Sharon Swart, while the Alfred P Sloan Prize jury comprised Fran Bagenal, Rodney Brooks, Raymond Gesteland, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Alex Rivera.

Highlights from the awards ceremony can be seen on the Sundance Channel on January 25 and on the official festival website www.sundance.org/festival.