SXSW 2020 Reveals Award-Winners Despite Cancelling the Festival!!

SXSW 2020 is proof that, just because a viral pandemic has put a temporary stop to festivals and other celebratory gatherings, that doesn’t mean that hard-working and talented creatives will go unrewarded. The festival was among the early events to be canceled in the wake of coronavirus, but also one of the first to go digital; the cancellation was just about two weeks ago and the digital shift came only a week later, just to keep this insane timeline in perspective. And that brings us to today when SXSW revealed the official Jury and Special Award winners of the strangest festival in recent memory

Here’s what Janet Pierson, Director of Film, had to say about this year’s event:

“When we curated and announced our slate for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, filled with an array of wonderful films we were excited to share with our unique audience, we had no idea of the unprecedented impact that Coronavirus would have on all our lives. Our hearts were broken for all the filmmakers who invested so much time and talent in their work, hoping for a transformative experience at our event. We’re honored to at least be able to present our juried and special awards. We know that it’s no substitute for the actual festival’s vitality, enthusiasm, and potential for surprising outcomes — and that it is only available to a small fraction of our program — but we hope it will help garner some well-deserved recognition for these wonderful works.”

Feature films receiving Jury Awards were selected from the Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature Competition categories. Short films and other juried sections, including Film Design Awards, are also included.

SXSW also announced Special Awards including: Adobe Editing Award, Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, Final Draft Screenwriters Award, Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, Vimeo Staff Pick Award, and the ZEISS Cinematography Award.

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival Juries consisted of:

  • Narrative Feature Competition: Rebecca Keegan, Rodrigo Perez, Kim Yutani
  • Documentary Feature Competition: Bilge Ebiri, Naomi Fry, Dino Ramos
  • Narrative Shorts Program: Penelope Bartlett, Monica Castillo, Greta Fuentes
  • Documentary Shorts: Marjon Javadi, Allison Willmore
  • Animated Shorts: Katie Krentz, Hana Shimizu, Asalle Tanha
  • Midnight Shorts: Jonathan Barkan, Derek Kingongo, Brittany Klesic
  • Music Videos: Jason Baum, Chaka and Qi Dada
  • Texas Shorts: Denise Hernandez, Jenny Jacobi, Martin C. Jones
  • Texas High School Shorts: Jonathan Case, Jazmyne Moreno, Barton Weiss
  • Episodic Pilots: Mitch Hurwitz, Emily Nussbaum, Shelby Stone
  • Louis Black “Lone Star”: Kathy Blackwell, David Fear, Richard Whittaker
  • Excellence in Title Design: Ryan Butterworth, Alex Johnson
  • Excellence in Poster Design: Becky Cloonan, Barak Epstein, Kevin Tong

This year’s program would have had 135 Feature Films, including 99 World Premieres, 9 North American Premieres, 5 U.S. Premieres, and 75 films from first time filmmakers + 119 Short Films including 22 Music Videos, 12 Episodic Premieres, 7 Special Events, 14 Episodic pilots in 2 curated programs, 30 Title Design Entries, and 27 Virtual Cinema Projects. Due to the event cancellation, there will be no Audience Awards for 2020.

Here is the full list of award-winners:

Winner: “Shithouse,” directed by Cooper Raiff
Special Jury Recognition for Directing: “Topside,” directed by Celine Held, Logan George
Special Jury Recognition for Acting: “Really Love” (Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing), directed by Angel Kristi Williams

Winner: “An Elephant in the Room,” directed by Katrine Philp
Special Jury Recognition for Achievement in Documentary Storytelling: “The Donut King,” directed by Alice Gu
Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice: “Finding Yingying,” directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Winner: “White Eye,” directed by Tomer Shushan
Special Jury Recognition for Acting: “Dirty” (Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn), directed by Matthew Puccini
Special Jury Recognition: “Darling,” directed by Saim Sadiq
Special Jury Recognition: “Single,” directed by Ashley Eakin

Winner: “No Crying at the Dinner Table,” directed by Carol Nguyen
Special Jury Recognition: “Mizuko,” directed by Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane
Special Jury Recognition: “Día de la Madre,” directed by Ashley Brandon, Dennis Höhne

Winner: “Regret,” directed by Santiago Menghini
Special Jury Recognition: “Laura Hasn’t Slept,” directed by Parker Finn
Special Jury Recognition for Creature Design: “Stucco,” directed by Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling

Winner: “Symbiosis,” directed by Nadja Andrasev
Special Jury Recognition: “No, I Don’t Want to Dance!,” directed by Andrea Vinciguerra
Special Jury Recognition: “The Shawl,” directed by Sara Kiener

Winner: 070 Shake – “Nice to Have,” directed by Noah Lee
Special Jury Recognition for Animation: Mitski – “A Pearl,” directed by Saad Moosajee, Art Camp
Special Jury Recognition for Direction: The Lumineers – “Gloria,” directed by Kevin Phillips

Winner: “Just Hold On,” directed by Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi
Special Jury Recognition: “Coup d’etat Math,” directed by Sai Selvarajan

Winner: “Wish Upon a Snowman,” directed by Miu Nakata
Special Jury Recognition: Narrative
Winner: “Ultimatum,” directed by Kai Hashimoto
Special Jury Recognition: Documentary
Winner: “Unveiled,” directed by Sofia Bakwa
Special Jury Recognition: Animation
Winner: “The Orchard,” directed by Zeke French

Winner: “Embrace,” directed by Jessica Sanders
Special Jury Recognition for Drama: “Chemo Brain,” directed by Kristian Håskjold
Special Jury Recognition for Comedy: “Lusty Crest,” directed by Kati Skelton

Winner: “Laura Hasn’t Slept,” designed by Olivier Courbet
Special Jury Recognition: “The Donut King,” designed by Andrew Hem & Charlie Le

Winner: “See,” designed by Karin Fong
Special Jury Recognition: “Why We Hate,” designed by Allison Brownmoore, Anthony Brownmoore


Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
Presented to: “In and of Itself,” directed by Frank Oz

Adobe Editing Award
Presented to: “You Cannot Kill David Arquette,” edited by Paul Rogers with additional editing by David Darg

Final Draft Screenwriters Award
Presented to: “Best Summer Ever,” written by Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli 

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
Winner: “Miss Juneteenth,” directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples
LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD Special Jury Recognition for Acting:
Winner: Rob Morgan from “Bull,” directed by Annie Silverstein
LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD Special Jury Recognition for Documentary:
Winner: “Boys State,” directed by Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Vimeo Staff Picks Award
Presented to: “Vert,” directed by Kate Cox

ZEISS Cinematography Award
Winner: “Echoes of the Invisible,” directed by Steve Elkins


via Collider

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