Though SXSW will carry on screening films through Saturday, the awards were presented tonight—let’s cut straight to the list of winners:
Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award: Trey Edward Shults’s KRISHA. It’s “an emotionally charged and stylistically inventive family drama,” writes Variety‘s Justin Chang. “The film, set over the course of a volatile Thanksgiving holiday, stars Shults’s aunt Krisha Fairchild in the title role and features other members of the director’s family in the cast. ‘The people who worked on this film became a family as we worked on it, and if you ever want to make a movie with this much power, turn your team into your family,’ Fairchild said, accepting the prize with Shults onstage.”
“It constantly runs the risk of devolving into a form of cinematic family therapy,” finds Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn. “Yet the personal dimension of the project mainly involves its continuing fixation on Krisha’s subjectivity, with impressively choreographed long takes and Brian McOmber’s jagged, disorienting score taking prominence over much in the way of straightforward exposition.” At the Playlist, Charlie Schmidlin gives the film an A. For Indiewire, Nigel M. Smith talks to Shults and Fairchild.
Narrative Feature Special Jury Recognition for Visual Excellence: Benjamin Dickinson’s Creative Control. “The story of an ad exec who finds his priorities rewired while testing a pair of eyeglasses that constitute ‘the first actually convincing augmented-reality system’ doesn’t exactly have new things to say about technology and alienation,” grants Ben Kenigsberg in Variety. “But a contemplative tone, a zigzagging narrative, superb widescreen black-and-white cinematography and an infusion of dry humor make it feel genuinely fresh. Critical nurturing could help this moody, offbeat indie find its audience.” Adds Eric Kohn at Indiewire, where Nigel M. Smith interviews Dickenson: “It’s at once otherworldly and familiar.”
Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award: Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber’s Peace Officer. For Oktay Ege Kozak, writing for Indiewire, this “half The Thin Blue Line-style crime procedural, half political study about the militarization and overreach of police, is a refreshingly objective and levelheaded documentary that’s as culturally relevant as it is expertly paced and captivating. Steering away from the racial side of police violence, a volatile issue that would have required a Ken Burns-ian, 15-hour documentary to even crack the surface of the problem, Barber and Christopherson tackle the more universal aspects of police militarization.” Update, 3/18: Writing for Variety, Dennis Harvey finds the doc “as engrossing and well crafted as it is timely.”
Documentary Feature Special Jury Recognition for Editing: Jeff Consiglio for Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto’s Twinsters. Update, 3/18: “What would you do if, one random day, you find out that you might be a twin, separated at birth from your sibling?” asks Nikola Grozdanovic at the Playlist. “This is exactly what happened to Samantha Futerman, an actress living in the United States (her credits include Memoirs of a Geisha, 21 & Over, and more recently, The Kroll Show), who faced this bizarre, movie-like, scenario when she got friend requested on Facebook by Anaïs Bordier. Seeing the potential in documenting the experience, Samantha and her friend Ryan Miyamoto co-directed Twinsters, which tells the heart-warming story of how Sam and Anaïs connected from different continents and after decades of never knowing the other existed. Sure, it’s hard not to notice that the documentary spins its wheels at times, but there’s something incredibly touching here about the warmth and comfort of family and acceptance.” More from Elise Nakhnikian at the House Next Door.
Gamechanger Award: Yvonne Kerékgyártó’s Free Entry.
Documentary Short Jury Award: Meg Smaker’s Boxeadora.
Midnight Short Jury Award: Gillian Wallace Horvat’s Kiss Kiss Fingerbang.
Texas Short Jury Award: John Bryant’s The Samaritans.
Texas High School Short Jury Award: Meredith Morran and Sage McCommas’s It’s a Thing.
Updates, 3/21: First up, the Audience Award winners, one for each section:
- 24 Beats Per Second: Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley’s Landfill Harmonic.
- Narrative Spotlight: Josh Lawson’s The Little Death.
- Documentary Feature Competition: Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber’s Peace Officer.
- Festival Favorites: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence (reviews).
- Narrative Feature Competition: Trey Edward Shults’s KRISHA.
- Documentary Spotlight: Sara Hirsh Bordo’s A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.
- Visions: Todd Rohal’s Uncle Kent 2.
- Episodic: Sam Esmail’s Mr. Robot.
- SXGlobal: Betzabé García’s Kings of Nowhere.
- Midnighters: RKSS Collective’s Turbo Kid.
- Headliners: Michael Showalter’s Hello, My Name is Doris.
- Poster Design Audience Award Winner: Pink Grapefruit. Designer: Simon Dargan for Musta Lunta.
- Title Design Audience Award Winner: The Fitzroy. Designers: Chris Tozer and Marko Anstice.
Meantime, the Chronicle‘s indexed its extensive coverage.