Aussie film wins major Sundance prize
Director David Michod’s Australian teen drama Animal Kingdom earned the dramatic jury prize for world cinema at the Sundance Film Festival.
The drama Winter’s Bone and the war-on-terror documentary Restrepo won top honours on Saturday among US movies.
Director Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, the story of a 17-year-old trying to uncover the fate of her father among the criminal clans of the Ozark Mountains, earned the grand jury prize for American dramas at Sundance, Robert Redford’s showcase for independent cinema, at the final day on Saturday.
Granik and co-writer Anne Rosellini also won the festival’s Waldo Salt screenwriting award for their script, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.
Animal Kingdom also centres on a teenager.
The film stars Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton and James Frechevill.
It’s the story of a 17-year-old boy who must navigate his way between a crime-driven family in Melbourne and a cop who thinks he can save him.
Michod ‘like Tarantino, Scorsese’
The Friday viewing of the film grew gasps and shrieks from the audience, and reviewers compared Michod’s work to that of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.
Winter’s Bone was the second-straight Sundance drama winner featuring a breakout role for a young actress.
Jennifer Lawrence, whose credits include Charlize Theron’s The Burning Plain, offers a fearless lead performance in Winter’s Bone, which follows Gabourey Sidibe’s sizzling debut in the title role of Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire,” last year’s Sundance dramatic winner.
The US documentary prize went to Restrepo, a visceral account of a year in the lives of 15 Americans fighting in Afghanistan, where the troops have erected a remote mountain outpost to remember a fallen comrade, Private Juan Restrepo.
The film was directed by journalist Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, and photographer Tim Hetherington.
Documentary on schools wins
“We’re in the middle of two wars,” Junger said.
“If our movie can help this country understand how to go forward, we would be incredibly honoured by that.”
The audience award for favourite US drama chosen by Sundance fans was given to the romance “happythankyoumoreplease,” written and directed by and starring Josh Radnor, the star of the television comedy series How I Met Your Mother.
Waiting for Superman – a study of the problems at US public schools that was directed by Davis Guggenheim, who made the Academy Award winner An Inconvenient Truth – earned the audience award for US documentaries.
More than 110 films were screened during Sundance, with 58 entered in competition.