Israeli film "Sweet Mud (Adama Meshuga'at)" won the jury prize for world cinema in the Sundance Film Festival, the top US showcase for independent film. "Sweet Mud" is based on director Dror Shaul's own experiences as a young boy in the 1970s living on a left-wing kibbutz in the northern Negev. Shaul said the win represents coming full circle for him, as the script for the film was developed in the screenwriting workshop held by the Sundance Institute in 2003.
JPost review: A poignant vision crafted in 'Mud'
Another Israeli winner in Sundance is Shimon Dotan, who received the special jury prize in the world-cinema documentary category for "Hot House (HaBithoniyim)," a film following Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prison.
The documentary describes the growth of an intra-prison power structure among the prisoners, all indicted for acts of terrorism or incitement against Israel, and the gradual dissemination of the inmates politics to the Palestinian Authority, resulting in the victory of Hamas in the PA elections.
Other wins in Sundance included "Padre Nuestro (Our Father)," an immigrant saga about a Mexican teen's heartbreaking search for his father in America. "Padre Nuestro" won the grand-jury prize for best US drama.
"Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)," another Latin American story recounting government corruption and kidnapping in Brazil, earned the grand-jury award in the US documentary competition at the festival.
"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 US drama as chosen by balloting among Sundance movie-goers.
JTA contributed to this report.