On January 28, 2020 winners of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival jury prizes in short filmmaking were announced by Sundance Institute at a ceremony in Park City, Utah. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize, awarded to one film in the program of 74 shorts selected from a record high 10,397 submissions, went to So What If The Goats Die, directed and written by Sofia Alaoui. The Short Film program is presented by Southwest Airlines. This year’s Short Film jurors are Sian Clifford, Marcus Hu and Cindy Sherman.
Short Film awards winners in previous years include Aziza by Soudade Kaadan, Matria by Álvaro Gago, And so we put goldfish in the pool. by Makato Nagahisa, Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt, SMILF by Frankie Shaw, Of God and Dogs by Abounaddara Collective, Gregory Go Boom by Janicza Bravo, The Whistle by Grzegorz Zariczny, Whiplash by Damien Chazelle, FISHING WITHOUT NETS by Cutter Hodierne, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker and The Arm by Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos and Jessie Ennis.
The short film program at the Festival is the centerpiece of Sundance Institute’s year-round efforts to support short filmmaking. Select Festival short films are presented as a traveling program in over 75 cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe each year, and short films and filmmakers taking part in regional Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in several cities. Of the seven short films selected for awards this year, three projects (43% percent) were directed by women, two (29%) were directed by people who identify as LGBTQ, and three (43%) were directed by people of color.
2020 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards
The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Sofia Alaoui, for So What If The Goats Die / France, Morocco (Director and screenwriter: Sofia Alaoui) — Abdellah, a young shepherd living in the mountains, is forced to brave the snow blocking him in order to get food and save this cattle. Once he gets to the village, he faces a supernatural phenomenon.
The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Terrance Daye, for Ship: A Visual Poem / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Terrance Daye) — A black boy learns contradicting lessons of manhood and masculinity on the day of his cousin’s funeral.
The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: Dylan Holmes Williams, for The Devil’s Harmony / United Kingdom (Director: Dylan Holmes Williams, Screenwriters: Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O’Kane) — A bullied teenage girl leads an a cappella club on a trail of destruction against her high school enemies.
The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Matthew Killip, for John Was Trying to Contact Aliens / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Killip) — John Shepherd spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music millions of miles into space. After giving up the search he makes a different connection here on earth.
The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Daria Kashcheeva, for Daughter / Czech Republic (Director and screenwriter: Daria Kashcheeva) — Should you hide your pain, close yourself inside your inner world, and long for your father’s love? Or should you understand and forgive before it’s too late?
A Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting was presented to: Sadaf Asgari, for Exam / Iran (Director: Sonia K. Hadad, Screenwriters: Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi) — A teenage girl gets involved in the process of delivering a pack of cocaine to its client, and gets stuck in a weird cycle of occurrences.
A Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: Michael Arcos, for Valerio’s Day Out / Colombia, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Arcos) — A young jaguar goes on a killing spree when he escapes from his enclosure at a zoo. After he’s captured, sedated and relocated, he makes a video diary for his significant other, Lula.
Images courtesy of Sundance Institute. The festival runs January 23 – February 2. You can follow Carolyn’s coverage of Sundance on social media at @Carriecnh12 on Twitter and Instagram, with the hashtag #SHWHSundance20, and So Here’s What Happened! at @SHWH_Pod on Twitter.
Carolyn is a Freelance Film Critic, Journalist, and Podcaster – and avid live tweeter. Member of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), her published work can be found on But Why Tho, The Beat, Observer, and many other sites. As a critic, she believes her personal experiences and outlook on life, give readers and listeners a different perspective they can appreciate.