SXSW: Film Awards Winners Revealed

The Work Still SXSW - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Blanketfort Media

Ana Asensio's 'Most Beautiful Island' took the Grand Jury narrative feature prize, while Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous' 'The Work' claimed the top doc prize.

Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island, a psychological thriller about undocumented female immigrants in New York, has won the Grand Jury Award in the narrative feature competition at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The Grand Jury Award for documentary feature went to The Work, from directors Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous, which looks at a four-day group therapy session in Folsom Prison.

The SXSW Film Awards, presented by FilmStruck, were announced Tuesday night, while the film portion of the SXSW Conference and Festivals continues through Saturday. The awards were hosted by Saturday Night Live castmember Sasheer Zamata. Audience Awards will be announced separately on Saturday, along with the VR/AR Virtual Cinema award winners.  

In the narrative feature competition, the jury, composed of The Hollywood Reporter’s Seth Abramovitch, Scott Mantz and Dana Stevens, gave a special jury recognition for breakthrough performance to James Freedson-Jackson for his work in The Strange Ones. And another special jury recognition, for best ensemble, was given to A Bad Idea Gone Wrong and its cast, which included Matt Jones, Eleanore Pienta, Will Rogers, Jonny Mars, Am Eidson and Jennymarie Jamison.

The documentary jury, consisting of Eugene Hernandez, Ann Hornaday and Eric Hynes, gave a special recognition for excellence in observational cinema to Miao Wang’s Maineland and a jury recognition for excellence in documentary storytelling to Nanfu Wang’s I Am Another You.

Leading the SXSW Film Design Awards were designer Caspar Newbolt, who took the excellence in poster design prize for his work on Fry Day, and Chris R. Moberg and Jared Young, who were honored for their title design for Into The Current.

Noel Wells’ Mr. Roosevelt, about a recent college grad returning to Austin, Texas, home of the festival, won the SXSW Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, which recognizes a movie with Texas content.

Over the course of nine days, the 2017 SXSW Film Festival will screen 130 features, consisting of 84 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and five U.S. premieres, with 54 first-time filmmakers. One hundred twenty-eight shorts will screen as part of 12 curated shorts programs. The 256 films were selected from 7,651 overall submissions, consisting of approximately 2,432 features and 4,975 shorts. 

The 2017 SXSW Film Festival Awards: 

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards 


Winner: Most Beautiful Island
Director: Ana Asensio

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Performance: The Strange Ones
Actor: James Freedson-Jackson

Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble: A Bad Idea Gone Wrong
Cast: Matt Jones, Eleanore Pienta, Will Rogers, Jonny Mars, Sam Eidson, Jennymarie Jemison


Winner: The Work
?Directors: Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence in Observational Cinema: Maineland
Director: Miao Wang?

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling: I Am Another You
Director: Nanfu Wang

Short Film Grand Jury Awards


Winner: Forever Now?
Director: Kristian Haskjold

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: DeKalb Elementary
Actor: Tarra Riggs

Special Jury Recognition: Laps


Director: Charlotte Wells

Winner: Little Potato

Director Wes Hurley & Nathan M Miller


Winner: Little Potato?
Director: Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller


Winner: The Suplex Duplex Complex
Director: Todd Rohal


Winner: Wednesday With Goddard
?Directors: Nicolas Menard?

Special Jury Recognition: Pussy
Director: Renata Gasiorowska


Winner: ?Leon Bridges? - "River"
Director: Miles Jay

Special Jury Recognition: ?Tame Impala? - "The Less I Know The Better"
Director: CANADA?


Winner: The Rabbit Hunt?
Director: Patrick Bresnan


Winner: Better Late Than Never
Director: Atheena Frizzell

Special Jury Recognition: Darcy’s Quinceañera
Director: Sam Cooper

SXSW Film Design Awards 


Winner: Fry Day
Designer: Caspar Newbolt

Special Jury Recognition:Like Me
Designer: Jeremy Enecio


Winner: Into the Current
Directors: Chris R. Moberg and Jared Young


SXSW LUNA Gamechanger Award - Narrative

Winner: Inflame
Director: Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik

SXSW LUNA Chicken & Egg Award - Documentary

Winner: I Am Another You
Director: Nanfu Wang

SXSW Louis Black “Lone Star” Award

Winner: Mr. Roosevelt
Director: Noël Wells

SXSW Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
In honor of a filmmaker whose work strives to be wholly its own, without regard for norms or desire to conform. The Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award is presented to a filmmaker from our Visions screening category.

Presented to: Assholes
Director: Peter Vack

SXSW Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship

Presented to: Leigh Johnson