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Slamdance 2019 Award Winners

By Chris Gore | February 4, 2019

The 25th Slamdance Film Festival announced the winners of their annual Sparky Awards in Audience, Jury, and Sponsored categories. The festival also announced the recipients of their Russo Brothers Fellowship, the CreativeFuture Innovation Award, and a curated Acting Award. All winners were announced at a ceremony at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah on Thursday evening, January 31.

“Slamdance has helped launch many filmmakers that have gone on to change the face of entertainment,” said Slamdance co-founder Peter Baxter.

Baxter went on: “Our artist led community, including the support and mentorship of this year’s Founder’s Award recipient Steven Soderbergh and alumni Anthony and Joe Russo, continues to focus on the discovery and support of great new artists. We congratulate the winners and everyone at Slamdance who represent the authentic voice of independent artists and our cultural future.”

2019 Audience Awards were given to three acclaimed films.  The Vast of Night, directed by Andrew Patterson, took home the Audience Award for Narrative Feature, while director David Hambridge’s Kifaru won the 2019 Audience Award for Documentary Feature. Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story, directed by Patrick Creadon, walked away with this year’s Best of Breakouts Audience Award, given to films in the festival’s new Breakouts Section, which showcases filmmakers who have made a feature before.

Juries of esteemed filmmakers and industry professionals determined the Slamdance Jury Awards, which are given to films and filmmakers in four categories: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Narrative Shorts, and Animated/Experimental Shorts.

This year’s Narrative Jury Prizes were selected by Frédéric Forestier, Shih-Ching Tsou, and Jeremiah Zagar, who awarded the Narrative Feature Grand Jury prize to Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture (Film Threat Review) directed by Nicole Brending, with an Honorable Mention given to Cat Sticks (Film Threat Review) directed by Ronny Sen.

About the section’s winning films, the jury stated: “Dollhouse wasn’t like any other film at the festival or any festival. It was outrageous, bold, hilarious. We’re also giving it the grand prize because we think it really embodies the spirit of the Slamdance. Cat Sticks is unbelievably gorgeous and has some of the most incredible poetic moments of any movies we’ve ever seen. We hope it finds a vein in American culture!”

2019 Documentary Jury Prizes were selected by Dana Nachman, Mark Moskowitz, and Stefan Avalos, who awarded the Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize to Kifaru directed by David Hambridge. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Markie in Milwaukee directed by Matt Kliegman. The Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize went to Tungrus directed by Rishi Chandna, while Las Del Diente directed by Ana Perez Lopez was awarded the Honorable Mention.

“Good nonfiction films like any other stories need strong characters, a conflict, and a storyteller who understands that it is the way you tell the story that makes the story. All of the films in this year’s selection have the required ingredients,” stated the documentary jury. “The winning film, Kifaru, doesn’t just have technical, creative, and imaginative chops—which it does in spades—it has purpose. Both epic and intimate, the subject and subject matter is enormous, the characters strong, committed, and complicated individuals. It is a film packed with scenes you won’t forget, delivered as if you were there.”

The 2019 Narrative Shorts Jury Prize was selected by Andrew Hevia, Jeremy Yaches, and Gus Krieger, who gave their Grand Jury Prize to Woman In Stall, directed by Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli. East of the River, directed by Hannah Peterson, was awarded the Honorable Mention.

Animated and Experimental Shorts jury prizes were selected by Kelly Gallagher, Skizz Cyzyk, and Bryan Wendorf. Animated Shorts and Experimental Shorts Grand Jury prizes went to Shalva (Tranquility) by Danna Windsor, and Wayward Emulsions by Tina Takemoto, with Bloeistraat 11, directed by Nienke Deutz, and Applied Pressure by Kelly Sears taking home the categories’ respective Honorable Mentions.

This year’s Russo Brothers Fellowship was awarded to Hannah Peterson, director of East of the River. The $25,000 prize, presented by AGBO Films in partnership with the festival, is designed to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their journey with mentorship from Joe and Anthony as well as development support from their studio.

The 2019 CreativeFuture Innovation Award went to Bloeistraat 11, directed by Nienke Deutz. Slamdance and CreativeFuture have partnered for years to support new talent in the world of film and educate creatives on the importance of protecting their work. This award is given to an emerging filmmaker who exhibits the innovative spirit of filmmaking.

“Congratulations to Nienke Deutz for winning Slamdance’s CreativeFuture Innovation Award this year,” said CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale. “Her film, Bloeistraat 11, exemplifies the innovative spirit of filmmaking by skillfully and soulfully telling a story through the expert use of animation. The award is well-deserved and we look forward to seeing more from Nienke.”

The Spirit of Slamdance Award, voted on by filmmakers and given to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival, went to Nicole Brending of Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture. The festival’s Outstanding Acting Award, which is curated by the Slamdance team, went to Siyabonga Majola from the film We Are Thankful (Film Threat Review).   Honorable mentions were given to Aya Kitai from Demolition Girl and Lauren McCune of Ready for Love.

Slamdance’s 2019 feature competition lineup included 18 World, North American, and U.S. Premieres – including films from Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In total, 11 narrative and 9 documentary features were showcased in competition. All competition films are feature length directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD, and without US distribution.

A full list of winners is below:

Jury Awards | Narrative Features

Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize – Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture (Dir.: Nicole Brending)

Honorable Mentions: Cat Sticks (Dir.: Ronny Sen)


Jury Awards | Documentary Features, Documentary Shorts

Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize – Kifaru (Dir.: David Hambridge)

Honorable Mention – Markie in Milwaukee (Dir.: Matt Kliegman)

Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize – Tungrus (Dir.: Rishi Chandna)

Honorable Mention: Las Del Diente (Dir.: Ana Perez Lopez)


Jury Awards – Narrative Shorts

Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Woman In Stall (Dir.: Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli)

Honorable Mention: East of the River (Dir.: Hannah Peterson)


Jury Awards – Experimental Shorts/ Animated Shorts

Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Wayward Emulsions (Dir.: Tina Takemoto)

Honorable Mention: Applied Pressure (Dir.: Kelly Sears)

Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Shalva (Tranquility) (Dir.: Danna Windsor)

Honorable Mention: Bloeistraat 11 directed (Dir.: Nienke Deutz)


Slamdance Acting Award

Siyabonga Majola (We Are Thankful)


Slamdance Acting Award Honorable Mention

Aya Kitai (Demolition Girl)

Lauren McCune (Ready for Love)


George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner

Nicole Brending (dir. of Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture)


Creative Future Innovation Award

Bloeistraat 11 (Dir.: Nienke Deutz)


The Russo Brothers Fellowship Award Winner

Hannah Peterson, dir. of East of the River


Audience Awards

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: The Vast of Night (Dir.: Andrew Patterson)

Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Kifaru (Dir.: David Hambridge)

Audience Award for Beyond Feature: Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story (Dir.: Patrick Creadon)

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