‘Boys State’, ‘Epicentro’ Top Sundance Doc Prize Winners

Boys State
Courtesy of Sundance


By Pat Mullen

Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s Boys State was the undisputed Sundance winner on the documentary front. After scoring a $10 million sale from Apple and A24 early in the festival, Boys State rode high on rave reviews and won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary last night. POV’s Jason Gorber praised Boys State as “exactly the kind of terrific experience one hopes to find at a festival” and called it “nothing short of a triumph.” Boys State depicts a week-long political camp in which young Americans participate in a mock election.

Hubert Sauper’s Epicentro won the equivalent prize for World Cinema. In her review of Epicentro, Inge Coolsaet called it “an excellent exercise in decolonial thinking.”

The Sundance award ceremony shared the wealth among the documentaries. Unlike last year’s triple win for Honeyland, no doc won more than a single prize. The event also saw seven special awards handed out to films in competition.

The complete list of documentary winners at Sundance is as follows:

U.S. Grand Jury Prize – Documentary: Boys State – Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Epicentro – Hubert Sauper

Audience Award – U.S. Documentary: Crip Camp – Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht

Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary: The Reason I Jump – Jerry Rothwell

Directing Award: U.S. Documentary: Time – Garrett Bradley

Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary: The Earth Is Blue as an Orange – Iryna Tsilyk

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Welcome to Chechnya – Tyler H. Walk

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling: Dick Johnson Is Dead – Kirsten Johnson

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: Feels Good Man – Arthur Jones

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: The Fight – Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling: The Painter and the Thief – Benjamin Rees

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Acasa, My Home – Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Softie – Mila Aung-Thwin, Sam Soko, and Ryan Mullins

Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction: John Was Trying to Contact Aliens – Matthew Killip

Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features: Whirlybird – Diane Becker, Melanie Miller

Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Documentary: Carla Guttierez

Visit the POV Sundance Hub for more coverage from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.