Docs

“Kailash,” “Of Fathers and Sons” take doc prizes at Sundance ’18

Derek Doneen’s Kailash and Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons were among the top documentary winners at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The festival’s awards ceremony took place Saturday (Jan. 27), with host ...
January 28, 2018

Derek Doneen’s Kailash and Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons were among the top documentary winners at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

The festival’s awards ceremony took place Saturday (Jan. 27), with host Jason Mantzoukas and jurors presenting 28 prizes for feature filmmaking in Park City, Utah.

Doneen picked up the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for his film Kailash (pictured), which tells the story of Kaliash Satyarthi, a young man who promised himself that he would end child slavery during his lifetime.

Of Fathers and Sons, meanwhile, was given the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary. The doc follows director Talal Derki returning to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years.

Elsewhere, the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary category went to The Sentence from director Rudy Valdez, while the Audience Award in World Cinema Documentary was presented to This Is Home from Alexander Shiva.

The full list of non-fiction winners, with synopses provided by Sundance, follows below:

U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary

Kailash / U.S.A. (Director: Derek Doneen)

As a young man, Kailash Satyarthi promised himself that he would end child slavery in his lifetime. In the decades since, he has rescued more than eighty thousand children and built a global movement. This intimate and suspenseful film follows one man’s journey to do what many believed was impossible.

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary

Of Fathers and Sons / Germany, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar (Director: Talal Derki)

Talal Derki returns to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses on Osama and his younger brother Ayman, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up in an Islamic Caliphate.

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary

The Sentence/U.S.A. (Director: Rudy Valdez)

Cindy Shank, mother of three, is serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement with a Michigan drug ring years earlier. This intimate portrait of mandatory minimum drug sentencing’s devastating consequences, captured by Cindy’s brother, follows her and her family over the course of ten years.

Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary

This Is Home / U.S.A., Jordan (Director: Alexandra Shiva)

This is an intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore, Maryland and struggling to find their footing. With eight months to become self-sufficient, they must forge ahead to rebuild their lives. When the travel ban adds further complications, their strength and resilience are put to the test.

Directing Award: U.S. Documentary

Alexandria Bombach for her film On Her Shoulders / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandria Bombach)

Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Repeating her story to the world, this ordinary girl finds herself thrust onto the international stage as the voice of her people. Away from the podium, she must navigate bureaucracy, fame and people’s good intentions.

Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary
Sandi Tan, for her film Shirkers / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sandi Tan)

In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan shot Singapore’s first indie road movie with her enigmatic American mentor Georges – who then vanished with all the footage. Twenty years later, the 16mm film is recovered, sending Tan, now a novelist in Los Angeles, on a personal odyssey in search of Georges’ vanishing footprint

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision

Hale County This Morning, This Evening / U.S.A. (Director: RaMell Ross)

Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community, this film is constructed in a form that allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South – trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously a testament to dreaming.

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact 

Crime + Punishment / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Maing)

Over four years of unprecedented access, the story of a brave group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and one unrelenting private investigator who, amidst a landmark lawsuit, risk everything to expose illegal quota practices and their impact on young minorities.

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling 

Three Identical Strangers/U.S.A. (Director: Tim Wardle)

New York,1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they’re identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds’ joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives – and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking was presented by Barbara Chai to:

Minding the Gap / U.S.A. (Director: Bing Liu)

Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award 

Stephen Loveridge and M.I.A., for MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. / Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Loveridge)

Drawn from a never before seen cache of personal footage spanning decades, this is an intimate portrait of the Sri Lankan artist and musician who continues to shatter conventions.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing

Editors Maxim Pozdorovkin and Matvey Kulakov, for Our New President / Russia, U.S.A. (Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin)

The story of Donald Trump’s election told entirely through Russian propaganda. By turns horrifying and hilarious, the film is a satirical portrait of Russian media that reveals an empire of fake news and the tactics of modern-day information warfare.

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography

Cinematographers Maxim Arbugaev and Peter Indergand, for Genesis 2.0 / Switzerland (Directors: Christian Frei)

On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths. When they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass, its resurrection will be the first manifestation of the next great technological revolution: genetics. It may well turn our world upside down.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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