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sundance 2013

Fruitvale Wins Top Two Sundance Awards

Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale

Start your 2014 Oscar watch now. Both Sundance's Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic went to the true story Fruitvale; the last movie to pull off that feat was 2009’s Precious, which went on to win two Academy Awards. (That Harvey Weinstein, king of Oscar campaigns, picked up Fruitvale for $2 million also bodes well.) Earlier this week, Vulture spoke to the film's star, Michael B. Jordan, about his powerful performance as Oscar Grant, the 22 year-old father and former pot dealer whose 2009 shooting by a BART officer sparked race riots, and he said the audience had been crying at the premiere. Tonight, Fruitvale's 26-year-old director Ryan Coogler took the stage and nearly brought audiences to tears again. "At the end of the day, when I first started doing this project, it was about humanity, about how we treat each other, how we treat the people we love, and also how we treat the people that we don't know," said Coogler. "This goes back to my homes in the Bay Area, where Oscar Grant lived, breathed, loved, fought, and survived for 22 years."

The other big winner at the ceremony, which was hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (a first-time director at this year's Sundance for Don John's Addiction), was Blood Brother, a documentary about children living with HIV in India that also pulled off a twofer, winning both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Documentary. "This is for the kids," said director Steve Hoover. "It's so crazy because their lives are so challenging and they die and nobody knows their names." Other highlights included Crystal Fairy director Sebastian Silva accepting his directing prize for World Cinema Dramatic via a distorted Facetime video chat while singing "Hava Nagila"; Jill Soloway thanking "all the other lady directors" while accepting the U.S. Dramatic directing prize for Afternoon Delight, which was about Kathryn Hahn bringing a stripper into her Silver Lake home; freshman writer-director Lake Bell practically weeping onstage after winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize for her very funny movie In A World... about the weird world of Hollywood voice-overs; and a jury member's reference to the "sexy fuck-you smirks" in the Pussy Riot documentary, which won a Special Jury Award for World Cinema Documentary. But as Gordon-Levitt said, "This isn't basketball. There are no winners and losers. Everyone who has a movie here should be proud. And I'm not just saying that because none of my movies ever win awards." 

Here's the full list of winners:

Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Dramatic: Fruitvale, dir. Ryan Coogler
Audience Award, U.S. Dramatic: Fruitvale, dir. Ryan Coogler

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, U.S. Dramatic: Lake Bell for In A World... 
Directing Award, U.S. Dramatic: Jill Soloway for Afternoon Delight
Special Jury Award for Acting, U.S. Dramatic: Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for The Spectacular Now
Special Jury Award for Sound Design: U.S. Dramatic: Shane Carruth and Johnny Marshall for Upstream Color
Cinematography Award, U.S. Dramatic: Bradford Young for Mother of George and Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Special Jury Award, World Cinema Documentary: Pussy Riot—A Punk Prayer 
Cinematography Award, World Cinema Documentary: Marc Silver and Pau Esteve Birba for Who Is Dayani Cristal? 
Editing Award, World Cinema Documentary: Ben Stark for The Summit (about a K2 expedition on which eleven died)
Directing Award, World Cinema Documentary: Tinatin Gurchiani for The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear (from Georgia)
World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize: A River Changes Course, dir. Kalyanee Mam (about Cambodians struggling with deforestation)
Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary: The Square (Al Midan), dir. Jehane Noujaim (about the Egyptian Revolution)

Special Jury Award, World Cinema Dramatic: Circles (Krugovi), dir. Srdan Golubovic from Serbia
Cinematography Award, World Cinema Dramatic: Lasting (Nieulotne), dir. Jacek Borcuch (Spanish/Poland)
Screenwriting Award, World Cinema Dramatic: Wajma (An Afghan Love Story), writer-director Barmak Akram (Afghanistan) 
Directing Award, World Cinema Dramatic: Crystal Fairy, dir. Sebastian Silva from Chile  
World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: Jiseul, dir. Muel O from Korea
Audience Award, World Cinema Dramatic: Metro Manila, dir. Sean Ellis (United Kingdom/Philippines)

Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking, U.S. Documentary: Inequality for All, dir. Jacob Kornbluth (about income inequality)
Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking, U.S. Documentary: American Promise, dir. Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson (follows two African-American families for twelve years as they pursue the educations of their sons)
Cinematography Award, U.S. Documentary: Dirty Wars, cinematographer Richard Rowley (journalist Jeremy Scahill investigates America's covert wars)
Editing Award, U.S. Documentary: Matthew Hamachek for Gideon's Army (about public defenders)
Directing Award, U.S. Documentary: Zachary Heinzerling for Cutie and the Boxer (about the 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko)
Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary: Blood Brother, dir. Steve Hoover
Audience Award, U.S. Documentary: Blood Brother, dir. Steve Hoover 

Audience Award, Best of Next: This is Martin Bonner, dir. Chad Hartigan

Announced earlier:

The Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: Computer Chess, dir. Andrew Bujalski (an existential comedy about the men who taught machines to play chess)

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: The Whistle / Poland (Director: Grzegorz Zariczny) — Marcin, a lowest-leagues football referee who lives in a small town near Krakow, dreams of better times. At his mother’s urging, he decides to change his life and find himself a girlfriend and a better job.

The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) — An aspiring drummer enters an elite conservatory’s top jazz orchestra.

The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: The Date / Finland (Director and screenwriter: Jenni Toivoniemi) — Tino’s manhood is put to the test in front of two women when he has to host a date for Diablo, the family’s stud cat.

The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Skinningrove / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Almereyda) — Photographer Chris Killip shares unpublished images chronicling time spent among the fiercely independent residents of a remote English fishing village.

The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Irish Folk Furniture / Ireland (Director: Tony Donoghue) — In Ireland, old hand-painted furniture is often associated with hard times, with poverty, and with a time many would rather forget. In this animated documentary, sixteen pieces of traditional folk furniture are repaired and returned home.

A Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to: Joel Nagle in Palimpsest / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Tyburski, Screenwriters: Michael Tyburski, Ben Nabors) — A successful house tuner provides clients with a unique form of therapy that examines subtle details in their living spaces.

A Short Film Special Jury Award was presented to: Until the Quiet Comes / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kahlil Joseph) — Shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts, Los Angeles, this film deals with themes of violence, camaraderie and spirituality through the lens of magical realism.

Photo: Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions