‘Birth of a Nation’ wins top honors at 2016 Sundance Film Festival

'Weiner,' 'Sonita' and 'Sand Storm' other big winners

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival came to a close on Saturday after a snowy, but satisfying 10 days.  And we’re going to

As expected, “The Birth of a Nation” took both the Audience and Grand Jury honors in the U.S. Dramatic competition.  The reception for the film was so euphoric from audiences the jury might have had trouble showing their faces in public if they didn’t.  Still, the jury was able to give some love to “Swiss Army Man” for directing and “Morris From America” took home two prizes including an acting honor for Craig Robinson.

The biggest surprise of the night was Melaine Lynskey taking the other acting prize for Clea DuVall’s dramedy “The Intervention” over the more critically lauded work of Rebecca Hall in “Christine.”   More surprising was that between the two Christine Chubbuck films it was the pseudo-doc “Kate Plays Christine” that took home a jury prize (writing).  This may only fuel the rumblings over how upset the “Christine” team was that Sundance programmed both films at the festival.

The fantastic political documentary “Weiner” took the prestigious U.S. Documentary prize and “Sonita” earned the World Cinema Documentary honor.  It was slightly disappointing that neither “KiKi” or “Holy Hell” received any love from the U.S. Doc jury.

The complete list of all of this year’s winners is as follows:

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary:

Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, “Weiner”

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic:

Nate Parker, “The Birth of a Nation”

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary:

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, “Sonita”

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic:

Elite Zexer for “Sand Storm”

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary:

Brian Oakes, “Jim”

The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic:

Nate Parker, “Birth of a Nation”

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary:

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, “Sonita”

The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic:

Manolo Cruz, Carlos del Castillo for “Between Sea and Land”

The Audience Award: NEXT:

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary:

Roger Ross Will, “Life Animated”

The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic:

Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan, “Swiss Army Man”

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary:

Michal Marczak, “All These Sleepless Nights”

The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic:

Felix van Groeningen for “Belgica”

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic:

Chad Hartigan, “Morris From America”

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact:

Dawn Porter, “Trapped”

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Writing:

Robert Greene, “Kate Plays Christine”

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Vérité Filmmaking:

Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe for “The Bad Kids”

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance:

Craig Robinson, “Morris From America”

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance:

Melaine Lynskey, “The Intervention”

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance:

Joe Seo, “Spa Night”

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award:

Miles Joris-Peyrafitte for “As You Are”

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Debut Feature:

Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel, “When Two Worlds Collide”

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing:

Mako Kamitsuna, John Maringouin, “We Are X Film”

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematography:

Pieter-Jan De Pue, “The Land Enlightened”

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting:

Vicky Hernandéz, Manolo Cruz for “Between Sea and Land”

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting:

Anina Katz, Inés Bortagaray for “Mi amiga del parque”

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design:

Agnieszka Smoczyńska for “The Lure”

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.
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