Sundance Awards: 'CODA' Wins Grand Jury Prize

CODA
Courtesy of Film

The Rossi family at the spring concert.

Top doc honors went to 'Summer of Soul' from director Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, who accepted his award from inside a car on his "way to work" in New York City at 'The Tonight Show.'

CODA has won the top award at the Sundance Film Festival, taking this year's U.S. Grand Jury prize. The title, which made headlines earlier in the fest for its record-breaking $25 million sale to Apple, also took the dramatic audience award, while director Sian Heder was honored with the directing award for U.S. dramatic competition.

"I hope that this opened the door to people getting that audiences want to see these kinds of stories," said Heder of the movie, which centers on a hearing teenage girl who is a child of deaf parents. "I hope that this means that more stories that center on deaf characters and characters with disability get put front and center."

The 2021 festival ceremony did not take place in snowy Park City, but was instead hosted online via YouTube, with jurors and presenters tuning in from their respective living rooms and backseats of cars around the world. The latter was the case for Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, who took both the audience prize and grand jury prize in the U.S. documentary section and accepted the awards via a video call from a car in New York on the "way to work" at The Tonight Show. "It's always been my dream to tell stories," he said of the process behind his movie Summer of Soul. "As a creator and storyteller, my purpose and goal was to not drop the ball."

Patton Oswalt hosted the virtual ceremony from his home, joking, "I really wish there was a Sundance this year, if only to watch the war between the Pfizer and Moderna suites trying to woo all the cool celebs to use their vaccine." Sundance Institute director Keri Putnam offered her own thoughts on Sundance's place amid the ongoing pandemic, saying, "We have been able to gather in new ways that we weren't sure [would] work but did. After a year that has been exceptionally difficult for artists and the arts, it is inspiring to this community [to] rally so fiercely around both." Newly instated director Tabitha Jackson added to the sentiments, thanking the filmmakers for "trusting us with your work and going along with us on this crazy experiment of a journey."

See the full list of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival winners below.

GRAND JURY PRIZES

U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson for Summer of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Siân Heder for CODA
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Jonas Poher Rasmussen for Flee
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Blerta Basholli for Hive

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson for Summer of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic: Siân Heder for CODA
Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Blerta Basholli for Hive
Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary: Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh for Writing With Fire
Audience Award: NEXT: Marion Hill for Ma Belle, My Beauty

DIRECTING, SCREENWRITING AND EDITING AWARDS

Directing Award: U.S. Documentary: Natalia Almada for Users
Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic Siân Heder for CODA
Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary: Hogir Hirori for Sabaya
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Blerta Basholli for Hive Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic: Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch for On the Count of Three
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno for Homeroom

SPECIAL JURY AWARDS

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast: the cast of CODA
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Actor: Clifton Collins Jr. for Jockey
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Emerging Filmmaker: Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt for Cusp
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Nonfiction Experimentation: Theo Anthony for All Light, Everywhere
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking: Camilla Nielsson for President
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change: Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh for Writing With Fire
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting: was Jesmark Scicluna for Luzzu
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision: Baz Poonpiriya, for One for the Road

NEXT INNOVATOR PRIZE PRESENTED BY ADOBE

NEXT Innovator Prize: Dash Shaw for Cryptozoo

SHORT FILM AWARDS PRESENTED BY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES®

Short Film Grand Jury Prize: Lizard
The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction: The Touch of the Master's Hand
The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: Bambirak
The Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction: Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma
The Short Film Jury Award: Animation: Souvenir Souvenir
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting: Wiggle Room
Short Film Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: The Criminals