dror shaul 88 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli director Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, which was announced in the closing ceremony on Saturday night. Shaul's film, an autobiographical story about a boy growing up on a kibbutz with a mentally ill mother, also won Israel's Ophir Award for Best Movie this year. Shaul developed Sweet Mud at a Sundance Institute workshop for aspiring filmmakers. Hot House, a documentary about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, directed by Shimon Dotan, was awarded a Special Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Sundance, based in Park City, Utah and founded by actor/director Robert Redford, has been the premiere showcase for independent films for the past 25 years. The festival featured 125 full-length feature films and documentaries and 70 short films and this year's field was considered especially competitive.
Other winners included two films about Latin America, the documentary Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), about a corrupt politician in Brazil, and Padre Nuestro, a feature film about a Mexican immigrant searching for his father in the United States. The World Cinema Jury Prize in the documentary category went to Enemies of Happiness, about an Afghani woman politician.
Grace Is Gone, a tear-jerker starring John Cusack as a father who takes his young daughters on a road trip to postpone breaking the news that their Army sergeant mother has been killed in Iraq, won the audience award for favorite U.S. drama as chosen by balloting among Sundance movie-goers.
Writer-director James C. Strouse won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for Grace Is Gone.
The U.S. audience award for documentaries went to Irene Taylor Brodsky's Hear and Now, a portrait of her aging, deaf parents as they undergo risky surgery that could allow them to hear.
The audience award winners for world cinema were given to John Carney's Once, a drama about an Irish street musician who forges an unusual personal and musical kinship with a Czech woman, and David Sington's British documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, a chronicle of the Apollo space program.