The Elon at Sundance “Grand Jury”

Image Courtesy The Sundance Institute

After having a few days to reflect on our Sundance experience, I wanted to see if the group agreed or disagreed with the Sundance Grand Jury’s selections.

The Elon at Sundance “Grand Jury” is a bit different given that we did not see all of the competition films, by a long-shot, and we all saw different films (with a fair amount of overlap). This obviously made consensus a bit difficult at times, but that just means more films get the recognition they deserve. Nominees are for the Academy…everything people saw at Sundance was eligible in our jury.

The Elon version also changes up some of the categories a little bit so that we can recognize some of the non-competition films and make these awards slightly more unique.

Elon at Sundance Grand Jury Awards/Recognition    

Most AMAZING Films

US Documentary: (All equally AMAZING) Being Elmo, How to Die in Oregon, Rebirth

World Documentary: Hell and Back Again

US Dramatic: (Co-winners) Gun Hill Road, Like Crazy

Honorable Mentions: Another Earth, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah, Terri, Take Shelter

World Dramatic: Happy, Happy

Non-Competition: (All AMAZING) Submarine, Perfect Sense, Margin Call, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same

Short (US or World): Living for 32

          HM: Deeper Than Yesterday, Fight for Your Right Revisited

 The Token “Oscar” Categories

Best 5 Actors: Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Tobey Maguire (The Details), Jacob Wysocki (Terri), Anton Yelchin (Like Crazy), Esai Morales (Gun Hill Road)

Best Actress: Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)

HM: Elizabeth Olson (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter), Brit Marling (Another Earth), Juno Temple (Little Birds), Judy Reyes (Gun Hill Road)

Best Director (Feature): Drake Doremus (Like Crazy)

HM: Mike Cahill (Another Earth), Madeleine Olnek (Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same)

Best 4 Directors (Documentary): Michael Rapaport (Beats Rhymes & Life), Marshall Curry (If a Tree Falls), Jim Whitaker (Rebirth), Danfung Dennis (Hell and Back Again)   

Noteworthy Editing (Feature): Like Crazy, Margin Call, Another Earth, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Perfect Sense, I Melt With You, Pariah

Noteworthy Editing (Documentary): Beats Rhymes & Life, Magic Trip, Rebirth, Hell and Back Again

Noteworthy Cinematography: I Melt With You, Another Earth, Perfect Sense, Little Birds

The Paul Castro Award for most AMAZING Screenplays: Submarine, Another Earth, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah


Final Thoughts

Films the Jury feel are most destined for box office success: Like Crazy and Cedar Rapids. Also watch out for Flypaper and The Details

The Jury also identified a handful of films that the Academy should have on their radar for next year (for a variety of categories): Living for 32, Take Shelter, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Like Crazy and Pariah

Finally we offer our best “name drops” (celeb sightings): Elmo/Kevin Clash, Tobey Maguire, Judy Reyes, Patrick Dempsey, Robert Redford, Academy Award Nominee Vera Farmiga, Esme from “Twilight”

Thanks to Sam, Blair, David, Leigh and Hannah for sharing their opinions with me to form the Elon at Sundance Jury. While some of our picks did overlap with the official Sundance jury, hopefully we shed light on some of the other great films that make up the Sundance class of 2011.  

What Sundance 11 film(s) do you think deserve recognition?



About The Spirit of Sundance

A group of Elon University students experiencing the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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