SXSW ’15: “Peace Officer” wins Grand Jury Prize

Directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber, Peace Officer (pictured) looks at the militarization of American police forces through the eyes of a former Utah sheriff.
March 18, 2015

A documentary about the militarization of American police won the Grand Jury prize at this year’s SXSW film festival.

Directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber, Peace Officer (pictured) looks at the issue through the eyes of former sheriff and semi-retired private investigator William “Dub” Lawrence, who established Utah’s first rural SWAT team but became disillusioned with its effectiveness after his son-in-law was shot and killed in a raid.

Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti’s A Woman Like Me, a narrative-doc hybrid about Sichel’s diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer in 2011, picked up a Special Jury Recognition for Directing. Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto’s Twinsters, which follows twin sisters separated at birth, earned a Special Jury Recognition for Editing.

Director Meg Smaker won the Documentary Short Jury Award for Boxeadora, and Bill Ross and Turner Ross’s doc feature Western, which debuted at Sundance and is due to screen at Hot Docs in April, nabbed the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award.

Lastly, the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship went to Seymour: An Introduction cutter Anna Gustavi.

This year’s Documentary Feature Competition jurors were Tabitha Jackson, Jason Spingarn-Koff and Alison Willmore.

SXSW’s Audience Awards winners will be announced on Saturday, March 21.

Watch the trailer for Peace Officer below:

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.