Winners of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival jury prizes in short filmmaking were announced today by Sundance Institute at a ceremony in Park City, Utah. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize, awarded to one film in the program of 73 shorts selected from 9,443 submissions, went to Aziza, directed by Soudade Kaadan and co-written by Kaadan and May Hayek.
The Short Film program is presented by YouTube, as part of their ongoing support for emerging storytellers, unique voices and independent artists. 2019 marks the seventh year YouTube has been the official sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival Shorts program. This year’s jurors are Sheila Vand, Young Jean Lee and Carter Smith.
Short Film awards winners in previous years include Matria by Álvaro Gago, And so we put goldfish in the pool. by Makato Nagahisa, Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt, SMILF by Frankie Shaw, Of God and Dogs by Abounaddara Collective, Gregory Go Boom by Janicza Bravo, The Whistle by Grzegorz Zariczny, Whiplash by Damien Chazelle, FISHING WITHOUT NETS by Cutter Hodierne, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker and The Arm by Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos and Jessie Ennis
The program is the centerpiece of Sundance Institute’s year-round efforts to support short filmmaking. Select festival short films are presented as a traveling program in over 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada each year, one of the few theatrical releases of shorts in North America. Short films and filmmakers also take part in regional Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in cities around the country.
Of the seven short films selected for awards this year, four projects (57% percent) were directed by women, two were directed by people who identify as LGBTQ, and six (85.7%) were directed by people of color.
2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards:
The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Aziza / Syria, Lebanon (Director: Soudade Kaadan, Screenwriters: Soudade Kaadan, May Hayek) — A dynamic take on the life of Syrian refugees, told through black comedy.
The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Green / U.S.A. (Director: Suzanne Andrews Correa, Screenwriters: Suzanne Andrews Correa, Mustafa Kaymak) — Green, an undocumented Turkish pedicab driver, unwittingly draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community, and himself.
The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: Dunya’s Day / Saudi Arabia, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Raed Alsemari) — Abandoned by her domestic help, Dunya fights to throw the perfect graduation soirée.
The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Ghosts of Sugar Land / U.S.A. (Director: Bassam Tariq) — In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young Muslim-American men ponder the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS.
The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Reneepoptosis / U.S.A., Japan (Director and screenwriter: Renee Zhan) — Three Renees go on a quest to find God, who is also Renee. As they traverse the mountains and valleys of Renee, they discover all the great joys, sorrows, and mysteries of being Renee.
A Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: FAST HORSE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alexandra Lazarowich) — The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy. A Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: The MINORS / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Robert Machoian) — A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.