Docs

Sundance ’14: Awards wins for “Rich Hill,” “Return to Homs”

Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo's poverty focused doc Rich Hill (pictured) won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, while Talal Derki's Syria-set Arab Spring doc Return to Homs took the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.
January 26, 2014

Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo’s poverty focused doc Rich Hill (pictured) won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, while Talal Derki’s Syria-set Arab Spring doc Return to Homs took the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.

Elsewhere, the Nick Cave-focused hybrid docu-drama 20,000 Days on Earth picked up two awards, taking the directing and editing awards in the World Cinema Documentary categories. Also doing a double was Edet Belzberg’s Watchers of the Sky, which won the editing prize in the U.S. Documentary category, along with a Special Jury Award for use of animation.

Other docs picking up prizes included The Overnighters, The Case Against 8, The Green Prince, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory, Happiness and E-TEAM.

The awards were bestowed at a ceremony in Park City, Utah, last night (January 25). The full list of non-fiction winners, with synopses provided by Sundance, follows below. The previously reported winners in the short doc categories can be found here.

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Tracy Chapman to:
Rich Hill / U.S. (Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos) — In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in the most fragile of family bonds, and dream of a future of possibility.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Andrea Nix Fine to:
Return to Homs / Syria, Germany (Director: Talal Derki) — Basset Sarout, the 19-year-old national football team goalkeeper, becomes a demonstration leader and singer, and then a fighter. Ossama, a 24-year-old renowned citizen cameraman, is critical, a pacifist, and ironic until he is detained by the regime’s security forces.

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, was presented by William H. Macy to:
Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory / U.S. (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett) — Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Felicity Huffman to:
The Green Prince / Germany, Israel, United Kingdom (Director: Nadav Schirman ) — This real-life thriller tells the story of one of Israel’s prized intelligence sources, recruited to spy on his own people for more than a decade. Focusing on the complex relationship with his handler, The Green Prince is a gripping account of terror, betrayal, and unthinkable choices, along with a friendship that defies all boundaries.

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Morgan Neville to:
Ben Cotner & Ryan White for The Case Against 8 / U.S. (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Sally Riley to:
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard for 20,000 Days On Earth / United Kingdom (Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard) — Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international culture icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, this film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

The Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Jonathan Oppenheim to:
Jenny Golden, Karen Sim for Watchers of the Sky / U.S. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.

The Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Sally Riley to:
Jonathan Amos for 20,000 Days On Earth / United Kingdom (Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard) — Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international culture icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, this film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

The Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Kahane Cooperman to:
Rachel Beth Anderson, Ross Kauffman for E-TEAM / U.S. (Directors: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) — E-TEAM is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers, offering a rare look at their lives at home and their dramatic work in the field.

The Cinematography Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Caspar Sonnen to:
Thomas Balmès & Nina Bernfeld for Happiness / France, Finland (Director: Thomas Balmès) — Peyangki is a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk living in Laya, a Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. Soon the world will come to him: the village is about to be connected to electricity, and the first television will flicker on before Peyangki’s eyes.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Use of Animation was presented by Charlotte Cook to:
Watchers of the Sky / U.S. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking was presented by Charlotte Cook to:
The Overnighters / U.S. (Director: Jesse Moss) — Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor’s decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery was presented by Caspar Sonnen to:
We Come as Friends / France, Austria (Director: Hubert Sauper) — We Come as Friends is a modern odyssey, a science fiction–like journey in a tiny homemade flying machine into the heart of Africa. At the moment when the Sudan, Africa’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, a “civilizing” pathology transcends the headlines – colonialism, imperialism, and yet-another holy war over resources.

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