Sundance: 'Clemency' Wins Dramatic Grand Jury Prize

The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doc 'Knock Down the House,' directed by Rachel Lears, won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award.

Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency, which stars Alfre Woodard as a warden at a maximum security prison struggling with an approaching execution, claimed the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition as the 2019 Sundance Film Festival handed out its awards Saturday night in Park City.

As she accepted the honor, Chukwu said that one of her hopes, which she would like the film to play a role in, is that “we can end mass incarceration and dismantle the prison-industrial complex.”

In a year that saw more female filmmakers than ever presenting work at the indie-minded film festival, the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary Competition also went to women filmmakers — Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang for One Child Nation, which takes a critical look at China’s one-child policy. Wang’s previous film, Hooligan Sparrow, which played Sundance in 2016, also saw her fearlessly challenging Chinese authorities.

Knock Down the House, Rachel Lears’ up-to-the-moment doc about four women who challenged Democratic incumbents in the 2018 primaries, which Netflix has been circling, took the audience award for a U.S. documentary, marking another victory for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), whose successful grassroots campaign features prominently in the pic.

The audience award for a film in the U.S. Dramatic Competition went to Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Brittany Runs a Marathon, which stars Jillian Bell as a woman in New York City trying to reclaim her life. The doc sold to Amazon for $14 million at the fest.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco, which deals with gentrification in San Francisco and stars Jimmy Fails and Jonathan Majors, was a double winner in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, earning Joe Talbot directing honors and a special jury prize for creative collaboration.

Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s Honeyland, from Macedonia, which concerns a quest to save endangered bees, was another multiple winner: It was presented with the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary and was also given a special jury prize for its cinematography by Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma and another special jury award “for impact for change.”

The Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Drama was presented to Joanna Hogg’s dysfunctional relationship drama The Souvenir, starring newcomer Honor Swinton Byrne. The film was picked up by A24.

Saturday's ceremony was hosted by Marianna Palka, who currently stars on Netflix's GLOW and who starred in and directed the previous Sundance films Good Dick and Bitch.

A complete list of winners follows.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Award: Clemency, directed by Chinonye Chukwu
U.S. Dramatic Audience Award: Brittany Runs a Marathon, directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo
U.S. Dramatic Directing Award: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, directed by Joe Talbot
U.S. Dramatic Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Share, screenplay by Pippa Bianco
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Vision and Craft: Honeyboy, directed by Alma Har'el
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Creative Collaboration: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, directed by Joe Talbot
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting: Rhianne Barreto, Share

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize Award: One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang
U.S. Documentary Audience Award: Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears
U.S. Documentary Directing Award: American Factory, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency: Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for an Emerging Filmmaker: Jawline, directed by Liza Mandelup
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Apollo 11, edited by Todd Douglas Miller
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Midnight Family, cinematographer Luke Lorentzen

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: The Souvenir, directed by Joanna Hogg
World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: Queen of Hearts, directed by May El-Toukhy
World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award: The Sharks, directed by Lucia Garibaldi
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Monos, directed by Alejandro Landes
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Originality: We Are Little Zombies, directed by Makoto Nagahisa
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting: Krystyna Janda, Dolce Fine Giornata

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize: Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani
World Cinema Documentary Directing Award: Cold Case Hammarskjold, directed by Mads Brugger
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders: Midnight Traveler, directed by Hassan Fazzili
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact for Change: Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Honeyland, cinematographers Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

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Audience Award: The Infiltrators, directed by Alex Rivera and Christina Ibarra
Innovator Award: The Infiltrators, directed by Alex Rivera and Christina Ibarra

SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS

Grand Jury Prize: Aziza, directed by Soudade Kaadan
U.S. Fiction: Green, directed by Suzanne Andrews Correa
International Fiction: Dunya's Day, directed by Raed Alsemari
Non-Fiction: Ghosts of Sugar Land, directed by Bassam Tariq
Animation: Reneepoptosis: directed by Renee Zhan
Special Jury Prize for Directing: Fast Horse, directed by Alexandra Lazarowich
Special Jury Prize for Directing: The Minors, directed by Robert Machoian
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Sundance Institute / NHK Award: Planet Korsakov (Japan), Taro Aoshima
Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Awards for Feature Film: Carly Hugo and Matt Parker
Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Awards for Documentary Film: Lori Cheatle