john cooper sundance 2020

[UPDATED 2/4/20]

SAGindie kicked off a new decade by once again heading to the Sundance Film Festival. The 2020 festival – which said farewell to longtime festival director John Cooper – took place from January 23-February 2, (in Park City, UT, as per usual) and SAGindie returned to host the 23rd Annual Actors Only Brunch and 23rd Annual Filmmakers Luncheon. A big thanks to all who attended – and to our hosts, actors Rachel Brosnahan, Colman Domingo, Garret Dillahunt, Richard Jenkins, Logan Lerman, Sunita Mani, Andrea Riseborough, Miriam Shor, and Robin Thede; and filmmakers Max Barbakow, Radha Blank, Alex Huston Fischer, Liz Garbus, Natalie Erika James, Braden King, Lawrence Michael Levine, and Eleanor Wilson!

But beyond the party-hosting, the SAGindie staff also managed to see some movies. Check out our favorites below, along with a list of this year’s award-winners.


Darrien’s Favorites:

I didn’t get to see very many movies this Sundance, too many other events/panels/receptions got in the way. However, I did manage to see a few and out of that small sampling, two stood out.

Blast Beat – an immigration story about a Colombian family trying to make it in America. Not your typical look at immigration, which made me like it even more.

Sylvie’s Love – really good film. Beautifully shot, great performances by Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, and the ’60s period clothing? Gorgeous!!!


Eliza’s Favorites:



I saw 3 total, I think?


Colin’s Favorites:

The best movie I saw at Sundance 2020 was Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. I loved it. Then I read about (spoiler?) how it was made and I’m… conflicted.

Still, great movie. But is it a documentary? I dunno! Discuss.

Shefali’s Favorites:

My two favorite films of Sundance this year were… drumroll… Zola and Save Yourselves! After all the dramas I watched these two felt like the necessary breath of fresh air I craved. It definitely helped that they also both had super wild and different plots from the rest of the films I saw.

Runner ups: Nine Days, Shirley, The Father, and Miss Americana

2020 Sundance Film Festival Winners:

Grand Jury Awards – Dramatic

Grand Jury Awards – Documentary

  • U.S. Grand Jury Prize – Documentary: Boys State
  • Directing Award – U.S. Documentary: Garrett Bradley, Time
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Tyler H. Walk, Welcome to Chechnya
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling: Dick Johnson Is Dead
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaking: Arthur Jones, Feels Good Man
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: The Fight
  • World Cinema Grand Jury Prize – Documentary: Epicentro
  • Directing Award – World Cinema Dramatic: Iryna Tsilyk, The Earth Is Blue as an Orange
  • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling: The Painter and the Thief
  • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc, Acasa, My Home
  • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: Mila Aung-Thwin, Sam Soko, and Ryan Mullins, Softie

Grand Jury Awards – Shorts

Audience Awards

Additional Awards

  • Festival Favorite Award: Giving Voice
  • Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: Tesla
  • NEXT Innovator Prize: I Carry You With Me
  • Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award – Narrative Feature: Huriyyah Muhammad, Farewell Amor
  • Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award – Documentary Feature: Diane Becker and Melanie Miller, Whirlybird
  • Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Narrative: Affonso Gonçalves
  • Sundance Institute/Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Documentary: Carla Guttierez
  • Sundance Institute/NHK Award: Kristen Tan

Congrats to all of the award-winners!



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