The film "Taipei Suicide Story," a drama about a "suicide hotel" in Taiwan, has won the top prize from the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival.
The film, written and directed by KEFF, won the Narrative Grand Jury Prize Award as well as the Audience Award and the Acting Prize for the film's star Tender Huang.
"Taipei Suicide Story" follows a receptionist at a suicide hotel who forms a fleeting friendship with a woman who can't decide if she wants to live or die. The film was also a selection of Cannes 2020.
The Slamdance jurors described "Taipei Suicide Story" as a film that "is concise and emotionally effective as it portrays isolation with humanity and complex pathos." The jury was composed of Carlos Aguilar, Kier-La Janisse and Jennifer Reeder, and the jury also gave an honorable mention to the film "A Family" directed by Jayden Stevens.
This year's Slamdance was the 27th edition of the festival, which ran virtually earlier this year, and the festival's prizes were presented in a virtual ceremony on Thursday.
"We congratulate the winners of Slamdance 2021 and everyone of our filmmakers who together attracted a record breaking festival audience for their brilliant independent work," president and co-founder Peter Baxter said in a statement. "Many people experienced Slamdance for the first time including over 17,000 passholders from 55 countries. Accessibility was essential to this endeavor and the spirit in which Slamdance's artist-led community embraced it was awesome!"
Other notable winners at this year's festival included Jocelyn Tamayao's "The Bin," which won a new section called Unstoppable dedicated to filmmakers with disabilities or that featured disabled performers.
Finally, Agnieszka Polska, the director of "Hurrah, We Are Still Alive!," won the AGBO Fellowship presented by Slamdance alums Anthony and Joe Russo. Polska will receive a $25,000 grant and creative support and mentorship from the Russo Brothers and the studio.
A full list of awards winners can be found below:
Jury Awards | Narrative Features
Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize: Taipei Suicide Story directed by KEFF (Taiwan)
Honorable Mention: A Family directed by Jayden Stevens (Australia)
Jury Awards | Documentary Features
Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize: CODE NAME: Nagasaki directed by Fredrik S. Hana (Austria)
Jury Awards | Breakout Features
Breakout Grand Jury Prize: No Trace directed by Simon Lavoie (Canada)
Honorable Mention: A Black Rift Begins to Yawn directed by Matthew Wade (USA)
Jury Awards | Documentary Shorts
Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize: Unforgivable directed by Marlén Viñayo (El Salvador)
Honorable Mention: Ain't No Time for Women directed by Sarra El Abed (Canada)
Jury Awards | Unstoppable Shorts presented by Hulu
Unstoppable Grand Jury Prize: The Bin directed by Jocelyn Tamayao (Philippines)
Honorable Mention: Feeling Through directed by Doug Roland (USA)
Honorable Mention: Full Picture directed by Jacob Reed (USA)
Jury Awards - Narrative Shorts
Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: In France Michelle is a Man's Name directed by Em Weinstein (USA)
Honorable Mention: MADA (Mother) directed by Joseph Douglas Elmhirst (USA)
Honorable Mention: Delimitation directed by Tereza Vejvodova (Czech Republic)
Jury Awards - Experimental Shorts
Grand Jury Prize: Passage directed by Ann Oren (Germany)
Honorable Mention: Mountain Lodge directed by Jordan Wong (USA)
Jury Awards - Animated Shorts
Grand Jury Prize: Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland directed by Haomin Peng, Yue Huang, Yuchao Luo (China)
Honorable Mention: Lizard Ladder directed by Ted Wiggin (USA)
Slamdance Acting Award
Tender Huang from the film Taipei Suicide Story (Taiwan)
Honorable mention: Michelle Uranowitz of the film The Ultimate (by Lou Fescano)(USA)
The AGBO Fellowship Award Winner, presented by Joe and Anthony Russo
Agnieszka Polska, director of Hurrah, We Are Still Alive! (Poland)
Slamdance Founder Award Winner
Award Winner: Tilane Jones, President of ARRAY (USA)
George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner
Award Winner: Chelsea Christer, director of Bleeding Audio (USA)
Honorable Mention: Mohammad Mohammadian, director of LIFE (Iran)
CreativeFuture Innovation Awardyc
Opera by Erick Oh
Audience Awards Winners:
Best Narrative Feature: Taipei Suicide Story directed by KEFF (Taiwan)
Documentary Feature: Holy Frit directed by Justin Monroe (USA)
Episodic: The Little Broomstick Rider directed by Matteo Bernardini (Italy)