Dragonslayer (pictured), a documentary about the dissolution of a group of skateboarders in suburban California, won big at the 2011 SXSW Film Awards in Texas last night, picking up the grand jury and best cinematography awards for documentary feature.
Tristan Patterson’s film follows Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval, a local Californian pool skating legend trying to find his place in the world, armed with only “a backpack, sleeping bag and 20 pairs of sunglasses to his name.”
The other main non-fiction prize of the evening – the audience award for best documentary feature – went to Vikram Gandhi’s Kumaré, a film following a man who impersonates a wise Indian guru in Arizona.
Elsewhere in the documentary feature film jury awards, editors Kyle Henry and Heather Courtney won the best editing gong for their work on Where Soldiers Come From; while the award for best score/music went to The Fisherman Three and Ben Fries for their score for The City Dark.
The award for best documentary short went to Mothersbane by Jason Jakaitis, while the Spotlight Premiers Audience Award – given to a filmmaking newcomer – went to Jeff Myers, for his documentary Becoming Santa.
This year’s ceremony also saw an inaugural Karen Schmeer Fellowship award being given, in honor of the late documentary editor, who worked on films including Errol Morris’ The Fog Of War and was killed last year in a hit-and-run in New York. The award was given to Erin Casper for her work editing Our School, a vérité documentary about school segregation in Romania.
Finally, the special Louis Black/Lone Star Award – named for the co-founder of SXSW – was awarded to Incendiary: The Willingham Case, Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.’s documentary about Cameron Todd Willingham, a man controversially executed in Texas in 2004.