In what’s quickly becoming an annual tradition, a single film won both the Dramatic Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival. As many expected, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, the energetic teen weepie that took Park City by storm last Monday, followed in the footsteps of last year’s Whiplash and the previous year’s Fruitvale Station by seducing both general festivalgoers and members of the jury (which this year included Winona Ryder and Edgar Wright, among others). Critics mostly liked it, too: While Me And Earl sounds, on paper, like a prime example of what’s wrong with so-called Sundance movies—not to mention quirky indie crowd-pleasers in general—it’s much funnier and more resonant than a logline lets on. It helps that the movie doubles as a valentine to cinema itself, and to the way young artists grow out of emulation and into personal expression.
Comedian Tig Notaro, herself the star of a documentary (Tig) that played the festival, hosted Saturday night’s awards ceremony in Park City. Robert Eggers was the deserving recipient of a Best Director award for his spooky, transfixing period horror film The Witch; it’s one of those movies whose opening few shots instantly confirm the confidence of the person who staged them. The Wolfpack, a kind of nonfiction Dogtooth about a group of Brooklyn kids raised in captivity on a diet of movies, won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary, while the gripping dramatization The Stanford Prison Experiment won a screenplay award as well as the Alfred P. Sloan Prize (handed out to films that focus on science and technology). Meanwhile, James White—the one this writer most regrets missing at the fest—won the audience award for Next, the fest’s competition for emerging talent.
Befitting the everyone’s-a-winner vibe of Sundance, the juries invented several special prizes through which the wealth could further be spread. The full list of winners can be found here. Not surprisingly, The Bronze is not among them.