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Sundance Film Festival 2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild Won Grand Jury Prize


Sundance Film Festival 2012 took place from Thursday, January 19 to Sunday, January 29 in Park City, Utah.

The 28th edition of the festival presented about 118 independent films from 30 countries, including 45 first-timers (24 in competition) and 91 world premieres. Featured in four different competition categories were 58 individual films.

Parker Posey was the host of the closing awards ceremony.

Every year the Sundance Film Festival brings to light exciting new direction and fresh voices in independent film, and this year is no different. While these awards further distinguish those that have had the most impact on audiences and our jury, the level of talent showcased across the board at the Festival was really impressive, and all are to be congratulated and thanked for sharing their work with us,” said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival director.

Beasts of the Southern Wild won Grand jury prize for drama at the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

The film also received a prize for excellence in cinematography, US dramatic.

Beasts of the Southern Wild tells the story of two persons (a father and his daughter) who are trying to deal with the effects of global warming. Hushpuppy is 6 years old and lives in the vicinity of the Mississippi delta with her father. The film is directed Benh Zeitlin, 29, first-time filmmaker and features a cast of non-actors. Quvenzhane Wallis (Hushpuppy), 8, who was 6 when she started to shot the movie, is for Benh Zeitlin “the biggest person” he knows.

The movie is described by Damon Wise (The Guardian) as “the first significant eco-threat movie to be seen through the eyes of the generation that has inherited global warming.”

I hope with this movie there is a flag that goes up to allow directors to explore the world,” said Benh Zeitlin.


"Beasts of the Southern Wild" won Grand jury prize for drama at the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

Beasts of the Southern Wild won Grand jury prize for drama at the Sundance Film Festival 2012.


The Surrogate won drama audience award and best ensemble at Sundance Film Festival 2012.

The film is based on the autobiographical writings of Mark O’Brien, journalist and poet and presents a man, 38, half paralyzed from poliomyelitis (John Hawkes) who wants to have a relation with his therapist (Oscar-winning Helen Hunt).

John Hawkes has health problems because his spine’s curvature was affected. He said he needed a help of a chiropractor to diminish the damages he caused to his back.

I’ve been doing yoga for like 25 years, but my spine doesn’t have enough movement in one direction and the opposite direction has way too much movement. (My chiropractor) doesn’t know how to fix it other than I might wear a brace for a while,” he said.

Fox Searchlight bought Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Surrogate and the films are expected to be launched in the US theaters this year.

The House I Live In documentary won Grand jury prize at Sundance Film Festival 2012.

The documentary exposes the failure of US war against drugs. Film director, Eugene Jarecki, said the authorities’ effort to stop the drug trade was “tragically immoral and so heartbreakingly wrong and misguided“. That war was “a terrible scar on America,” said Eugene Jarecki, because of unfair drug penalties affecting minorities.

The Invisible War by Kirby Dick won documentary audience award.

Both documentaries are the mirrors of the “dark and grim” times, as characterized by Robert Redford, the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance Film Festival 2012 Full List of Winners

Grand jury prize, documentary: The House I Live In

Grand jury prize, drama: Beasts of the Southern Wild

US directing award: The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield

US directing award: Middle of Nowhere, Ava Duvernay

Waldo Salt screenwriting award: Safety Not Guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow

Audience award, US documentary: The Invisible War

Audience award, US dramatic: The Surrogate

Special jury prizes, US documentary: Love Free or Die and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

US dramatic special jury prize for producing: Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling, Smashed and Nobody Walks

US dramatic special jury prize for Ensemble Acting: The Surrogate

Shorts audience award: The Debutante Hunters

Excellence in cinematography, US documentary: Chasing Ice

Excellence in cinematography, US dramatic: Beasts of the Southern Wild

US documentary editing award: Detropia

Best of next award: Sleepwalk With Me

Alfred P Sloan feature film prize: Robot and Frank and Valley of Saints

World cinema jury special prize, Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man

World cinema documentary editing: Indie Game: The Movie, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky

World cinema jury prize,documentary: The Law in These Parts, Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, director

World cinema dramatic special jury prize: Can, Rasit Celikezer, director

World cinema cinematography award, drama: David Raedeker, My Brother the Devil

World cinema cinematography award, documentary: Lars Skree, Putin’s Kiss

World cinema directing award, documentary: Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras

Shorts audience award: The Debutante Hunters, Maria White, director

World cinema audience award: Searching for Sugar Man

Sundance Film Festival has begun in Salt Lake City in 1978 as an effort to attract independent filmmakers.