List of Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Dramatic winnersby imanshahbeigi | created - 15 May 2013 | updated - 15 May 2013 | Public
all the winners chronologically ...
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1. Old Enough (1984)
PG | 92 min | Drama
Twelve-year-old, well-bred Lonnie meets the impudent Karen on the street. They spend some time together and Karen teaches Lonnie some of her favorite pastimes, like make-up, shop-lifting, ... See full summary »
Old Enough is a 1984 teen-oriented movie. It stars Sarah Boyd, Rainbow Harvest, Danny Aiello, Neill Barry, Roxanne Hart, Alyssa Milano and Susan Kingsley. It was written and directed by Marisa Silver and produced by Dina Silver, daughters of movie director Joan Micklin Silver.
Set in 1984 in New York, Old Enough is the story of a teenage girl, Karen Bruckner, from the "wrong side of the tracks" (played by Harvest), whose father (played by Aiello) is the superintendent of the rundown apartment complex in which they live. Her friend, Lonnie Sloane, is a rich, well-bred 11 year-old (played by Boyd). Milano, in her film debut, plays Lonnie's sister Diane.
2. Blood Simple. (1984)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.
Votes: 75,052 | Gross: $2.15M
Blood Simple. is a 1984 neo-noir crime film. It was the directorial debut of Joel Coen and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who later became a noted director. The film's title derives from the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest, in which "blood simple" is a term to describe the addled, fearful mindset of people after a prolonged immersion in violent situations.
3. Smooth Talk (1985)
PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.
Votes: 1,393 | Gross: $0.02M
Smooth Talk is a 1985 drama film, loosely based on Joyce Carol Oates' 1966 short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, which was in turn inspired by the Tucson murders committed by Charles Schmid. The protagonist and main character, Connie Wyatt, is played by Laura Dern. The antagonist, Arnold Friend, is played by Treat Williams.
American Playhouse (1981– )
Waiting for the Moon
PG | 88 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Sundance prizewinner. Fictionalized portrait of one of history's great literary couples: Stein & Toklas. Summer 1930s France, Alice tends to ailing Gertrude; they visit Fernande Olivier, ... See full summary »
Votes: 147 | Gross: $0.75M
Waiting for the Moon is a 1987 Twentieth Century Fox film about Gertrude Stein and her lover and assistant Alice B. Toklas, played by Linda Bassett and Linda Hunt. Set in the 1930s, it depicts the two women meeting Picasso and his lover Fernande Olivier (played by Bernadette Lafont), as well as the authors Ernest Hemingway (Bruce McGill), and Guillaume Apollinaire (Jacques Boudet). The film was written by Mark Magill and directed by Jill Godmilow.
5. Heat and Sunlight (1987)
R | 98 min | Drama
Over 16 hours, in February, 1987, a man confronts jealously and rage as a love affair falters. Photojournalist Mel Hurley returns home to San Francisco on the eve of his birthday, expecting... See full summary »
Heat and Sunlight is a 1987 independent film written, directed by and starring Rob Nilsson. It tells the story of a photojournalist who had worked in Biafra trying to patch up his relationship with his lover.
6. True Love (I) (1989)
R | 104 min | Comedy, Romance
Donna and Michael are getting married. But first, they have to plan the reception, get the tux, buy the rings, and cope with their own uncertainty about the decision. Michael fears ... See full summary »
Votes: 613 | Gross: $1.35M
True Love is a 1989 American comedy film directed by Nancy Savoca. An unflinching look at the realities of love and marriage which offers no "happily ever after" ending
7. Chameleon Street (1989)
R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama
William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he's had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a ... See full summary »
Votes: 395 | Gross: $0.24M
Chameleon Street is a 1989 independent film written by, directed by and starring Wendell B. Harris, Jr.. It tells the story of a social chameleon who impersonates reporters, doctors and lawyers in order to make money.
The film is a satire based on the life of Detroit con artist and high-school drop-out William Douglas Street, Jr., who successfully impersonated professional reporters, lawyers, athletes, extortionists, and surgeons, going so far as to perform more than 36 successful hysterectomies. A Sundance Film Festival press release in 2008 described it as "one of the first films to examine how mellifluously race, class, and role-playing morph into the social fabric of America."
8. Poison (1991)
R | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Romance
Three stories, each in a different genre, articulate Todd Haynes' idea of a queer cinema.
Votes: 2,859 | Gross: $0.61M
Poison is a 1991 independent science fiction drama horror film written and directed by Todd Haynes. It is composed of three intercut stories that are partially inspired by the novels of Jean Genet. With its gay themes, Poison is considered an early entry in the New Queer Cinema movement.
9. In the Soup (1992)
R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama
A neurotic nebbish lives in 2 worlds: the fantasy of winning his dream-girl via a hit movie, and the meager existence he scrapes out from very odd jobs, such as thesping in an arty ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,131 | Gross: $0.26M
In the Soup is a 1992 independent film comedy directed by Alexandre Rockwell. It stars Steve Buscemi as a self-conscious screenwriter who has written an unfilmable 500-page screenplay and is looking for a producer.
Tortured by self-doubt, financial ruin, and unrequited passion for his next door neighbor (Jennifer Beals), Aldolfo places an ad offering his mammoth screenplay to the highest bidder. In steps Aldolfo's "guardian angel", Joe (Seymour Cassel) a fast-talking shyster who promises to produce the film but has his own unique ideas regarding film financing.
10. Ruby in Paradise (1993)
R | 114 min | Drama, Romance
Ruby, a young woman, arrives in a Florida resort town during the off season to make a fresh start. She gets work as a sales clerk in a souvineer shop run by Mildred Chambers. She dates, and... See full summary »
Votes: 2,166 | Gross: $1.00M
Ruby in Paradise is a 1993 film written, directed, and edited by Victor Nuñez, and starring Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean, and Dorothy Lyman. It is a homage to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
11. Public Access (1993)
R | 90 min | Drama, Thriller
Brewster seems to be an almost too perfect example of idyllic small-town America, with everyone living in peace and harmony. So when newcomer Whiley Pritcher starts up his own local cable ... See full summary »
Public Access is a 1993 American drama film directed by Bryan Singer in his feature film debut. Singer also wrote the screenplay with Christopher McQuarrie and Michael Feit Dougan. The film was shot in 18 days for US$250,000. It was screened at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, where it was a joint winner of the Grand Jury Prize. Critics praised the technical direction of Public Access but did not lend similar praise to the film's story and the characters.
12. What Happened Was... (1994)
R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
This darkly humorous film explores the personal psychic landscape of two lonely New Yorkers. Jackie and Michael are coworkers at a large law firm, who decide to meet at Jackie's for dinner ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,066 | Gross: $0.33M
What Happened Was... has an overall approval rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
On the "Siskel & Ebert" show, Gene Siskel gave the film a thumbs up, stating that "For what is really just one long night of conversation, the stakes and the tension couldn't be any higher if these were two characters having a more conventional action scene." Roger Ebert, however, gave the film a thumbs down, calling it "Contrived" and stating that "There is a lot less here than meets the eye."
13. The Brothers McMullen (1995)
R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Three Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island struggle to deal with love, marriage, and infidelity.
Votes: 6,714 | Gross: $10.25M
The Brothers McMullen is a 1995 American comedy-drama film directed, written, produced by, and starring Edward Burns. It deals with the lives of the three Irish Catholic McMullen brothers from Long Island, New York, over three months, as they grapple with basic ideas and values — love, sex, marriage, religion and family — in the 1990s.
14. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
R | 88 min | Comedy, Drama
An unattractive seventh grader struggles to cope with inattentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities in suburban New Jersey.
Votes: 28,742 | Gross: $4.77M
The film was a surprise success, considering it was a relatively low budget, independently produced film. It garnered critical praise for its nail-biting view of a pre-teen outcast, and won the Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic feature at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Critic Roger Ebert has been vocal about his love for the film, giving it four stars out of four and placing it at number five on his "Best of 1996" list. The film currently holds an 90% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which states, "Twelve-year-old Dawn Wiener (Heather Matarazzo) is perhaps the most put-upon adolescent in film history in Todd Solondz's bitterly hilarious black comedy Welcome to the Dollhouse." At Amazon.ca, critic Jim Emerson says "What is junior high school but a strange, disorienting pastiche of black comedy, tragedy, soap opera, and (most of all) horror movie? Well, that pretty much describes Todd Solondz's astonishingly honest and clear-sighted film, Welcome to the Dollhouse." At IMDB, critic Mike Joyce says "Welcome to the Dollhouse is a black comedy, and one often feels guilty for laughing at Dawn's predicaments. All in all, it is a sad (yet somehow funny), look at poor Dawn's life. One can't help but think that she could get somewhere if she would just get a new wardrobe, new glasses, and a new hairdo. However, if she did that, it would effectively be another unrealistic, Hollywood-style film with a happy ending. I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys black comedies, or who wants to be taken back to the terrors of [junior] high school."
15. Sunday (1997)
Unrated | 91 min | Drama, Romance
This film concerns two mysterious characters who meet on a Sunday in Queens. Madeleine the most unsettling creature of that name since "Vertigo" is a middle-aged, moderately successful ... See full summary »
Votes: 598 | Gross: $6.10M
Sunday is a 1997 independent film. Set in Queens, a borough of New York City, it is a dark comedy about an unemployed, homeless IBM functionary mistaken by an aging actress for famous film director Matthew Delacorta. The film was directed by Jonathan Nossiter. The screenplay is an adaptation by Nossiter and James Lasdun or Lasdun's own short story "Ate, Memos or the Miracle" (published in his collection of stories, Three Evenings). The two would later collaborate again on Signs & Wonders.
Starring David Suchet (who reportedly added 40 pounds for his role), as well as Lisa Harrow and Jared Harris, it was shot on location in Queens and in an active homeless shelter, blending actors and non-actors.
16. Slam (1998)
R | 100 min | Drama
Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City. Unable to find a job, Ray copes with the despair and poverty of ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,088 | Gross: $0.98M
Slam is a 1998 independent film starring Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn. It tells the story of a young African-American man whose talent for poetry is hampered by his social background.
17. Three Seasons (1999)
PG-13 | 104 min | Drama
An American in Ho Chi Minh City looks for a daughter he fathered during the war. He meets Woody, a child who's a street vendor, and when Woody's case of wares disappears, he thinks the ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,874 | Gross: $2.02M
Three Seasons (Vietnamese title: Ba Mùa) is an American Vietnamese language film filmed in Vietnam about the past, present, and future of Ho Chi Minh City in the early days of Doi Moi. It is a poetic film that tries to paint a picture of the urban culture undergoing westernization. The movie takes place in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. As the characters try to come to terms with the invasion of capitalism, neon signs, grand 5-star hotels, and Coca-Cola signs, their paths begin to merge.
This was the first American film to be made in Vietnam after Bill Clinton lifted the embargo. The filmmakers were followed by Vietnamese inspectors throughout filming.
18. Girlfight (2000)
R | 110 min | Drama, Sport
Diana, without her father knowing it, trains as a boxer and achieves impressive success, blazing new trails for female boxers.
Votes: 8,652 | Gross: $1.52M
Girlfight is a 2000 American drama film written and directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Michelle Rodriguez. It focuses on Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the skepticism of both her abusive father and the prospective trainers in the male-dominated sport. Girlfight was the directorial debut of Kusama, as well as Rodriguez' breakout role.
The film won the Director's Award the Grand Jury Prize (tied with Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me) at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. It also won the Award of the Youth at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Rodriguez also accumulated numerous awards and nominations, including major acting accolades from the National Board of Review, Deauville Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Las Vegas Film Critics Sierra Awards, and many others.
19. You Can Count on Me (2000)
R | 111 min | Drama
A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town.
Votes: 25,018 | Gross: $9.18M
You Can Count on Me is a 2000 American drama film starring Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Rory Culkin, and Matthew Broderick. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, it tells the story of Sammy, a single mother living in a small town, and her complicated relationships with family and friends. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards at the 73rd Academy Awards: Best Actress for Linney and Best Original Screenplay.
The story takes place in the fictionalized Catskill communities of Scottsville and Auburn, New York. (There are actual villages with those names in western New York's Finger Lakes region) The film was primarily shot in and around Margaretville, New York.
20. The Believer (2001)
R | 98 min | Drama
A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter.
Votes: 33,296 | Gross: $0.41M
The Believer is a 2001 American drama film co-written (with Mark Jacobson) and directed by Henry Bean. The film stars Ryan Gosling as Daniel Balint, an Orthodox Jew who becomes a Neo-Nazi. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and the Golden St. George at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.
The film is loosely based on the true story of Daniel Burros, a member of the American Nazi Party and the New York branch of the United Klans of America who committed suicide after being exposed by a New York Times reporter to be Jewish.
21. Personal Velocity (2002)
R | 86 min | Drama, Romance
Three women's escapes from their afflicted lives. Each struggles to flee from the men who confine their personal freedom.
Votes: 3,248 | Gross: $0.77M
Personal Velocity is a tale of three women who have reached a turning point in their lives. Delia is a spirited, working-class woman from a small town in New York state who leaves her abusive husband and sets out on a journey to reclaim the power she has lost. Greta is a sharp, spunky editor who is rotten with ambition. To spite the hated unfaithful ways of her father, she has settled into a complacent relationship and is struggling (not too hard) with issues of fidelity to her kind but unexciting husband. Finally Paula, who ran away from home and got pregnant, is now in a relationship she doesn't want. She's a troubled young woman who takes off on a journey with a hitchhiker after a strange, fateful encounter on a New York street.
22. American Splendor (2003)
R | 101 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.
Votes: 44,316 | Gross: $6.00M
American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series. The film is also in part an adaptation of the comics, which dramatize Pekar's life. The film was written and directed by documentarians Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who share writing credit with Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner.
The film stars Paul Giamatti as Pekar and Hope Davis as Brabner. However, it also features appearances from Pekar and Brabner themselves (along with Toby Radloff), who discuss their lives, the comic books, and how it feels to be depicted onscreen by actors. It was filmed entirely on location in Cleveland and Lakewood in Ohio
23. Primer (2004)
PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.
Votes: 84,537 | Gross: $0.42M
Primer is a 2004 American science fiction drama film about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel. The film was written, directed, and produced by Shane Carruth and was completed on a budget of $7,000. Carruth graduated from college with a degree in mathematics and is a former engineer. Primer is of note for its extremely low budget, experimental plot structure, philosophical implications, and complex technical dialogue, which Carruth chose not to simplify for the sake of the audience. One reviewer said that "anybody who claims he fully understands what's going on in Primer after seeing it just once is either a savant or a liar." The film collected the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, before securing a limited release in the United States, and has since gained a cult following
24. Forty Shades of Blue (2005)
R | 108 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A Russian woman living in Memphis with a much older rock-'n'-roll legend experiences a personal awakening when her husband's estranged son comes to visit.
Forty Shades of Blue is a 2005 independent film directed by Ira Sachs. It tells the story of Alan James (Rip Torn), an aging music producer who lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his much younger Russian girlfriend, Laura (Dina Korzun). Their life together is complicated by the presence of Alan's adult son Michael (Darren E. Burrows) from a previous marriage, who forces Laura to reflect on the nature of her impending marriage and her future prospects. The film was inspired by Satyajit Ray's Charulata (1964).
25. Quinceañera (2006)
R | 90 min | Drama
As Magdalena's 15th birthday approaches, her simple, blissful life is complicated by the discovery that she's pregnant. Kicked out of her house, she finds a new family with her great-granduncle and gay cousin.
Votes: 3,829 | Gross: $1.69M
Quinceañera is a 2006 American drama film written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. It was released as Echo Park, LA in UK. Set in Echo Park, Los Angeles, the film follows the lives of two young Mexican American cousins who become estranged from their families: Magdalena because of her unwed teenage pregnancy and Carlos because of his homosexuality. The third issue entered upon by the film is the gentrification of a populous district of Los Angeles, and the resultant culture clash.
The film is spoken in the mixture of English and Spanish ("Spanglish") used by bilingual people who switch easily from one tongue to another; some of the humor is best appreciated by bilingual viewers. Contents
26. Sangre de mi sangre (2007)
TV-MA | 110 min | Drama, Thriller
A Mexican boy smuggles himself to Brooklyn to meet his long-lost father - only to have his identity stolen upon arrival by an impostor who seeks to steal the fathers' fortune.
Votes: 1,023 | Gross: $0.05M
Padre Nuestro ("Our Father"), also known as Sangre de Mi Sangre ("Blood of My Blood") is a 2007 Argentinean-American thriller film written and directed by Christopher Zalla, produced by Benjamin Odell and Per Melita and starring Jesús Ochoa, Armando Hernández, Jorge Adrián Espíndola, and Paola Mendoza.
27. Frozen River (2008)
R | 97 min | Crime, Drama
Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling ... See full summary »
Votes: 22,910 | Gross: $2.51M
Frozen River is a 2008 American crime drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The screenplay focuses on two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants in the trunk of a car from Canada to the United States in order to make ends meet. It received two Academy Award nominations: Best Actress (Melissa Leo) and Best Original Screenplay (Courtney Hunt).
28. Precious (II) (2009)
R | 110 min | Drama
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
Votes: 96,102 | Gross: $47.40M
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, often shortened as Precious, is a 2009 American drama film directed by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, and Mariah Carey. The film marked the acting debut of Sidibe.
29. Winter's Bone (2010)
R | 100 min | Drama
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.
Votes: 121,496 | Gross: $6.53M
30. Like Crazy (2011)
PG-13 | 86 min | Drama, Romance
A British college student falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa.
Votes: 53,242 | Gross: $3.41M
Like Crazy has been described as loosely inspired by the real-life experiences of director Drake Doremus, and in an interview with his ex-wife Desiree Pappenscheller, who was born in Austria, she claims that the film is a reenactment of Doremus and Pappenscheller's romantic and marital history including her United States immigration problems.
31. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.
Votes: 75,307 | Gross: $12.80M
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious. After playing at film festivals, it was released on June 27, 2012, in New York and Los Angeles, and later expanded wider. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards at the 85th Academy Awards, in the categories Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin), and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis). At age 9, Wallis became the youngest Best Actress nominee in history.
32. Fruitvale Station (2013)
R | 85 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.
Votes: 64,004 | Gross: $16.10M
Fruitvale Station (originally titled Fruitvale) is a 2013 American independent drama film written and directed by Ryan Coogler. It is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot to death by police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Oakland, California Fruitvale rapid transit station.