Sundance announces 2020 short film winners |

Sundance announces 2020 short film winners

Fouad Oughaou appears in "So What If The Goats Die" by Sofia Alaoui, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Enviede Tempte

What: Sundance Film Festival

When: Through Feb. 2

Where: Park City, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Resort


Winners of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival jury prizes in short filmmaking were announced Tuesday by Sundance Institute at a ceremony in Park City.

This year’s short film jurors are Sian Clifford, Marcus Hu and Cindy Sherman, and the Short Film program is presented by Southwest Airlines.

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Sofia Alaoui, for “So What If The Goats Die” / France, Morocco (Director and screenwriter: Sofia Alaoui) — Abdellah, a young shepherd living in the mountains, is forced to brave the snow blocking him in order to get food and save this cattle. Once he gets to the village, he faces a supernatural phenomenon.

The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Terrance Daye, for “Ship: A Visual Poem” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Terrance Daye) — A black boy learns contradicting lessons of manhood and masculinity on the day of his cousin’s funeral.

The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: Dylan Holmes Williams, for “The Devil’s Harmony” / United Kingdom (Director: Dylan Holmes Williams, Screenwriters: Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O’Kane) — A bullied teenage girl leads an a cappella club on a trail of destruction against her high school enemies.

The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Matthew Killip, for “John Was Trying to Contact Aliens” / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Killip) — John Shepherd spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music millions of miles into space. After giving up the search he makes a different connection here on earth.

The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Daria Kashcheeva, for “Daughter” / Czech Republic (Director and screenwriter: Daria Kashcheeva) — Should you hide your pain, close yourself inside your inner world, and long for your father’s love? Or should you understand and forgive before it’s too late?

A Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to: Sadaf Asgari, for “Exam” / Iran (Director: Sonia K. Hadad, Screenwriters: Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi) — A teenage girl gets involved in the process of delivering a pack of cocaine to its client, and gets stuck in a weird cycle of occurrences.

A Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: Michael Arcos, for “Valerio’s Day Out” / Colombia, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Arcos) — A young jaguar goes on a killing spree when he escapes from his enclosure at a zoo. After he’s captured, sedated and relocated, he makes a video diary for his significant other, Lula.

The short film program is the centerpiece of Sundance Institute’s year-round efforts to support short filmmaking.

This year’s short film program featured 74 shorts selected from a record-high 10,397 submissions.

Of the seven short films selected for awards this year, three projects (43 percent) were directed by women, two (29 percent) were directed by people who identify as LGBTQ, and three (43 percent) were directed by people of color.

Select short films are presented as a traveling program in over 75 cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe each year, and short films and filmmakers taking part in regional master classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in several cities.

Short Film award winners in previous years include “Aziza” by Soudade Kaadan, “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.

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