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Sundance Institute Announces Winners

By Sundance Institute
Jan 27, 2004, 15:23

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The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award went to Larry Gross for "We Don't Live Here Anymore," a marital drama starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts and Peter Krause.

As for the major awards, the festival once again acknowledged a pure independence by honoring two movies small movies, the drama "Primer" and documentary "DIG!"

Sundance is the United States' top film festival for independent movies, and many of titles winning attention and awards here will headline marquees at art-house cinemas throughout 2004.

"Primer," about two guys who invent a time travel machine that alters their lives forever, was given the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for best film drama, and "DIG!," which chronicles the rivalry of two rock band musicians, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary.

Accepting the award onstage, "Primer" writer/director Shane Carruth said he was "stunned" and thanked "a cast that doubled as the crew" on the ultra-low budget, $7,000, movie.

"I don't know what to do," he told Reuters after the show. "I'm glad they liked it."

"DIG!" was a typical Sundance winner because it had been off the radar of many festival goers, but picked up more and more fans throughout the 10-day run.

"I just started building," said director Ondi Timoner, who took seven years to make 'DIG!'. "Hopefully, I will be able to make more meaningful work in the near future, and maybe I won't have to finance it myself."

Sundance puts 16 dramas and 16 documentaries into competition each year.


Among dramas, coming of age tale "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Maria Full of Grace," about a Colombian woman smuggling drugs, had thrilled audiences. "Born into Brothels," about kids growing up in the red light district of Calcutta, and "Super Size Me," which follows a man stuffing himself with fast food, were two big hits in the documentary group.

Juries of film professionals select the top awards, but festival goers pick their favorites for Audience Awards, which went to "Maria Full of Grace" in drama and "Born into Brothels" among the documentaries.

Morgan Spurlock, who spent 30 days eating only food from McDonald's and then chronicled its impact on his body, earned the Directing Award for "Super Size Me," and Deborah Granik claimed best director honors for drama "Down to the Bone," about a working-class mother's battle with drug addiction.

Cinematography honors went to Nancy Schreiber for dark drama "November," starring Courteney Cox as a woman coming to grips with the murder of her boyfriend, and to Fearne Pearlstein, whose "Imelda" delves into the life of the former first lady of the Philippines.

Sundance also has a World Cinema category to recognize films from outside the United States, with honors going to two Canadian movies. "Seducing Doctor Lewis," about a small town's attempt to attract a doctor, was named best film drama, and "The Corporation" a portrait of a company as a social institution, was favorite documentary.

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