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Sundance Awards: ‘Fruitvale,’ ‘Blood Brother’ Sweep Top Prizes

Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted the annual party, which honors the festival's best films

"Fruitvale" and "Blood Brother" took the top prizes at the 2013 Sundance Awards, announced during a ceremony Saturday night in Park City, Utah.

"Fruitvale" won the Grand Jury Prize among dramatic films, as well as the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic films. "Blood Brother" performed the same two-step on the documentary side.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted the event, which honors the best films, performances and filmmaking of the festival.

This year appeared to have a wide-open field, as no one movie captivated the festival as “Beasts of the Southern Wild” did last year. That movie has garnered four Oscar nominations.

Also Read: Sneaky Sundance Winds Down in a Flurry of Deals and Buzz

Former Fox studio chief Tom Rothman predicted many wins down the lines for “Fruitvale,” Ryan Coogler’s dramatic retelling of the story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was gunned down by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer on New Year’s Day 2009. 

“This will not be the last time you guys walk to a podium,” Rothman said in announcing the award, which the jury praised for its “moral and social urgency.” That must have pleased the Weinstein Company, which acquired the film.

“For anyone out there who thinks for one second that movies don’t matter or can’t make a difference in the world, welcome the winner,” Rothman said.

Both of the night’s big winners took on important social topics. Steve Hoover’s “Blood Brother” tracked Ricky Braat, who becomes enamored with helping at an AIDS orphanage in India. No distributor has yet picked up the movie, which Preferred Content and WME are selling.

Also Read: How Fox Searchlight Made the Biggest Deal at Sundance: $9.75M on an Egg Sandwich

The other top prizes, among the dozens handed out on Saturday night, were spread around.

"A River Changes Course” took the Grand Jury Prize Among the World Cinema documentaries. Kalyanee Mam’s film tracks three Cambodians who see a country torn between its rural present and industrial future.

“This film is about family,” Mam said at the ceremony. “It’s not just about globalization, overdevelopment, overfishing or debt. It’s about our connection with each other. Events like these really bring our communities together.”

“The Square” took the audience award in that category, prompting the filmmaker to thank the people who lost their lives during the revolution in Egypt.

Meul O’s “Jisuel” took the World Cinema Jury Prize for a Dramatic film, while Sean Ellis’ “Metro Manila” won the audience award.

"This is Martin Bonner," Chard Hartigan's movie about two men who forge an unlikely friendship, took the Audience Award for the NEXT category.

Other notable winners included Jill Soloway, a veteran TV writer who won a directing award for “Afternoon Delight,” and Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, two actors on the rise who won a joint award for their performances in James Ponsoldt’s “Spectacular Now.”

Here's a full list of winners:

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – Blood Brother”

Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – "Fruitvale"

World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary – “A River Changes Course”

World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic – “Jisuel”

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary – “Blood Brother”

Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic – “Fruitvale”

World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary – “The Square”

World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic – “Metro Manila”

Best of NEXT Audience Award – “This is Martin Bonner”

U.S. Directing Award: Documentary – Zachary Heinzerling, “Cutie and the Boxer”

U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic – Jill Soloway, “Afternoon Delight”

World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary – Tinatin Gurchani, “The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear”

World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic – Sebastian Silva, “Crystal Fairy”

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award – Lake Bell, “In a World”

World Cinema Screenwriting Award – Barmak Akram, “Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)”

U.S. Documentary Editing Award – Matthew Hamachek, “Gideon’s Army”

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award – Ben Stark, “The Summit”

Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary – “Dirty Wars”

Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic – Bradford Young, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Mother of George”

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary – Marc Silver and Pau Esteve Birba,“Who is Dayani Cristal?”

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic – Michal Englert, “Lasting”

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award – “Inequality for All”

World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Artistic Vision – “Circles”

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award – “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer”


U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Sound Design – “Upstream Color,” Shane Carruth and Johnny Marshall

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting — Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, “The Spectacular Now”

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: "American Promise"

Short Film Audience Award – “Catnip: Egress to Oblivion”

Short Film Special Jury Award – “Until the Quiet Comes”  Short Film Special Jury Award, Acting — Joel Nagle, “Palimpsest”

Short Film Jury Award, Animation – “Irish Folk Furniture

Short Film Jury Award, Non-Fiction – “Skinningrove”

Short Film Jury Award, International Fiction: “The Date”

Short Film Jury Award, US Fiction: “Whiplash”

 Short Film Grand Jury Prize “The Whistle”

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film: “Computer Chess”