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Slamdance announces 2021 Sparky awards

‘Taipei Suicide Story’ one of the top winners

Submitted by Slamdance
KEFF's "Taipei Suicide Story" took home the Grand Jury and Audience awards for Narrative Feature​ at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival.
Courtesy of Slamdance

The 27th ​Slamdance Film Festival today announced the winners of their annual Sparky Awards in Audience, Jury and Sponsored categories.

Top winners include ​”Taipei Suicide Story,”​ ​directed by KEFF, ​”CODE NAME: Nagasaki​,” directed by Fredrik S. Hana and “No Trace​,” directed by Simon Lavoie. (See accompanying list).

“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”, said Slamdance President and Co-founder Peter Baxter. “Many people experienced Slamdance for the first time including over seventeen thousand passholders from fifty-five countries. Accessibility was essential to this endeavor and the spirit in which Slamdance’s artist-led community embraced it was awesome.”



The festival, which ran virtually from Feb.12-25, also announced the recipients of their AGBO Fellowship from Slamdance alumni Joe and Anthony Russo, the new Unstoppable Jury Award presented by Hulu, and a curated Acting Award.

The fellowship was awarded to ​Agnieszka Polska,​ director of ​”Hurrah, We Are Still Alive!” The $25,000 prize is designed to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their creative journey with mentorship from the Russo brothers, as well as development support from their studio.



“We are very excited to share that this year’s AGBO Fellowship 2021 winner is Agnieszka Polska,” said Angela Russo-Otstot, President of Creative. “She’s a wonderful visionary artist from Poland who has shown incredible expression in her art and we look forward to working with her as she moves into a film medium.”

This year’s Slamdance Film Festival was its most accessible and popular festival ever, with all films, the new Unstoppable program, Q&A’s and panels available on Slamdance.com, AppleTV, Roku, Firestick, as well as select programming free on Slamdance’s YouTube channel.

Slamdance’s wide-ranging selection of films this year included a feature competition lineup boasting 20 premieres, with 15 World, four North American and one U.S. debuts.

The 2021 shorts lineup showcased 107 short films in eight categories from 29 countries around the world. The lineup included 27 World, 13 North American and 8 U.S. Premieres.

Shorts in the Narrative, Documentary and Animation sections are eligible for the 2020 Oscar Qualifying Shorts competition.

Slamdance and Hulu partnered to support the launch of the new program,​ U​nstoppable, which featured 22 short films from up and coming disabled filmmakers, feature actors with disabilities, or highlight the conversation of disabilities in today’s world. The accessibility of this new program was also supported by Helen Keller Services and the University of Utah.

Despite the pandemic, Slamdance has experienced tremendous growth and reinforced its role as a festival of discovery and an important filmmaker incubator over the past year.

Key projects include the Netflix film ​”Day Shift,”​ ​​starring Jamie Foxx and produced by Slamdance alums Peter Baxter, Shaun Redick and Yvette Yates Redick; Andrew Patterson’s ​Slamdance premiere and multi-award nominated “​The​​ ​​Vast of Night​,​” released by Amazon; and Merawi Gerima’s critically acclaimed and award winning film “​​Residue​​” premiered at Slamdance 2020 and was released by Netflix through Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY.

To further support accessibility of independent cinema, Slamdance will host a ’Best Of Fest Weekend’ from Feb. 26-28 that will highlight its award-winning films. Virtual passes for the extended weekend are available at Slamdance.com now for $10.

Slamdance 2021 List of Winners

Jury Awards | Narrative Features

• Grand Jury Prize​: ​”Taipei Suicide Story​,” ​directed by KEFF ​(Taiwan)

• Honorable Mention: ​”A Family,” directed by Jayden Stevens​ (Australia)

Jury Awards | Documentary Features

• Grand Jury Prize: “​CODE NAME: Nagasaki,”​ directed by Fredrik S. Hana ​(Austria)

Jury Awards | Breakout Features

• 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

• 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

• 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

• 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,” d​irected 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 “T​he Ultimate” (USA)

The AGBO Fellowship Award, presented by Joe and Anthony Russo

• Agnieszka Polska​, director of ​”Hurrah, We Are Still Alive!” (​ Poland)

Slamdance Founder Award Winner

• Tilane Jones​, President of ​ARRAY​ ​(USA)

George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner, given to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival

• Chelsea Christer​, director of “B​leeding Audio”​ ​(USA)

• Honorable Mention: ​Mohammad Mohammadian​, director of “​LIFE”​ ​(Iran)

CreativeFuture Innovation Award, given to an emerging filmmaker who demonstrates innovation in filmmaking

• “Opera​” by Erick Oh

Audience Awards

• ​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)

Slamdance ’Best of Fest Weekend’


When: Feb. 26-28

Where: Online

Cost: $10

Web: slamdance.com


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