Slamdance Film Festival 2023 Awards: ‘Waiting For the Light to Change,’ ‘Starring Jerry as Himself’ Win Jury Prizes

“Where the Road Leads” and “Starring Jerry as Himself” lead Audience Awards

"Where The Road Leads" / Courtesy of Slamdance Film Festival

The Slamdance Film Festival has announced the winners of their 2023 Jury and Audience Awards. In the Narrative Feature category, “Waiting for the Light to Change” took the top honor, while “Starring Jerry as Himself” pulled double duty as the winner of both Narrative and Jury prizes in the documentary category. The film’s own Jerry Hsu was awarded the festival’s Outstanding Acting Award.

Other Jury prizewinners include “The Underbug” for Breakouts Feature, “Palookaville” for Episodes, and “Millstone” in the Unstoppable program.

“Honeycomb” won the Audience Award for Episodes, and “American Pot Story: Oaksterdam” took home the prize for the Unstoppable competition.

This year’s AGBO Fellowship, presented by 2022 recipient and current Slamdance jury member Ethan Eng, was awarded to Tij D’Oyen. His short film “Lollygag” was featured as part of the Narrative Shorts competition.

Filmmakers voted to award the George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award to Aaron David Harris, director of the Digital, Interactive and Gaming (DIG) project H-Squad: The Interactive Experience.

“Slamdance ‘23 has showcased an incredible array of new independent work that pushes the boundaries of cinematic language while expressing what it means to be alive in today’s world. We celebrate our winners, and crucially, the overall strength of this year’s program that elevates the art of filmmaking,” said Slamdance president and founder Peter Baxter in a statement.

Created in 1995, the 29th edition of the festival marked the first in-person return of the Unstoppable section since before the pandemic. Chosen from a pool of more than 7,600 submissions, the films screened in Park City and Salt Lake City and online from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29.

Per festival tradition, all films chosen for the Narrative Features and Documentary Features competition categories are directorial debuts without U.S. distribution, made on budgets of less than $1 million.

Read below for the full list of winners.

Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize: Waiting for the Light to Change (Dir. Linh Tran)
Honorable Mention: Where the Road Leads (Dir. Nina Ognjanović)

Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize: Starring Jerry as Himself (Dir. Law Chen)
Honorable Mention: Silent Love (Dir. Mark Kozakiewicz)

Breakouts Feature Grand Jury Prize: The Underbug (Dir. Shujaat Saudagar)
Honorable Mention: Onlookers (Dir. Kimi Takesue)

Episodes Grand Jury Prize: Palookaville (Dir. Theodore Collatos)
Honorable Mention: Off Fairfax (Dir. Erica Eng)

Unstoppable Grand Jury Prize: Millstone (Dir. Peter Hoffman Kimball)
Honorable Mention: My Eyes Are Up Here (Dir. Nathan Morris)

Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: The Sidewalk Artist (Dir. David Velez and Brandon Rivera)
Honorable Mention: Gwendoline (Dir Joaquim Bayle)

Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize: “The Unicorn in Snowpants Suddenly Ran Off” (Dir. Philipp
Honorable Mention: Moomin” (Dir. Zach Dorn)

Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Red Threads (Dir. Yuchi Ma)
Honorable Mention: Grillz & Mirrors (Dir. Michael U. Olowu)

Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Hot Dogs! (Dir. Frank Volk)
Honorable Mention: Silver Cave (Dir. Caibei Cai)

The AGBO Fellowship, presented by Joe and Anthony Russo, Award Winner: Tij D’Oyen director of

Slamdance Acting Award: Jerry Hsu for Starring Jerry as Himself

George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner: Aaron David Harris, director of H-Squad: The
Interactive Experience.

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Where the Road Leads (Dir. Nina Ognjanović)

Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Starring Jerry as Himself (Dir. Law Chen)

Audience Award for Episodes: Honeycomb (Dir. Sam Roden)

Audience Award for Unstoppable: American Pot Story: Oaksterdam (Dir. Dan Katzir & Ravit Markus)