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Sundance Film Festival unveils its Jury and Audience Award winners for 2023

Jan 30, 2023

The Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its Jury and Audience Award winners for 2023.

The day’s big winners included Maryam Keshavarz’s The Persian Version, which claimed both the Audience Award and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award in U.S. Dramatic Competition, as well as A.V. Rockwell’s A Thousand And One for Focus Features, which took the Grand Jury Prize in the same section.

Other titles taking top awards included festival favourite Radical from filmmaker Christopher Zalla and 3Pas Studios; Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project from Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, which took the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary; Madeleine Gavin’s Beyond Utopia, which nabbed the U.S. Documentary Audience Award; and D. Smith’s Kokomo City, which dominated the NEXT section as it claimed both the Innovator and Audience Award.

Written, directed and produced by Keshavarz for Archer Grey, The Persian Version watches as a large Iranian-American family gathers for the patriarch’s heart transplant, with a secret then being uncovered that catapults an estranged mother and daughter into an exploration of the past.

A Thousand And One follows the unapologetic and free-spirited Inez (Teyana Taylor) as she kidnaps 6-year-old Terry (Josiah Cross) from the foster care system, convinced it’s one last, necessary crime on the path to redemption. Holding on to their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability in New York City. Lena Waithe is among the producers.

Radical follows a frustrated teacher (Eugenio Derbez) exploring new educational methods in a Mexican border town, with Going To Mars meditating on the life of poet Nikki Giovanni, and Beyond Utopia following families fleeing North Korea. Then, there’s the Magnolia Pictures-acquired Kokomo City, charting the experiences of four trans sex workers, as they confront the dichotomy between the Black community and themselves.

The 2023 festival has spotlighted 111 features and 64 shorts, selected from 15,856 submissions, via screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City, and at the Sundance Resort. Over 75% of both short and feature-length works, along with many selected Indie Episodics, will be available for streaming via the fest’s online platform through January 29th.

View the winners’ list for 2023 below.


Director: Christopher Zalla


Grand Jury Prize

A Thousand And One
Director: A.V. Rockwell

Audience Award

The Persian Version
Director: Maryam Keshavarz

Directing Award

Sing J. Lee
The Accidental Getaway Driver

Jury Award: Creative Vision

Magazine Dreams
Director: Elijah Bynum

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award

Maryam Keshavarz
The Persian Version

Special Jury Award: Acting

Lio Mehiel

Jury Award: Ensemble

Theater Camp
Directors: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman


Grand Jury Prize

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project
Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson

Audience Award

Beyond Utopia
Director: Madeleine Gavin

Directing Award

Luke Lorentzen
A Still Small Voice

Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision

The Stroll
Directors: Kristen Lovell, Zackary Drucker

Special Jury Award: Freedom of Expression

Bad Press
Directors: Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, Joe Peeler

Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award

Daniela I. Quiroz
Going Varsity in Mariachi


Audience Award

20 Days In Mariupol (Ukraine)
Director: Mstylav Chernov

Grand Jury Prize

The Eternal Memory (Chile)
Director: Maite Alberdi

Directing Award

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Estonia/France/Iceland)
Director: Anna Hints

Special Jury Award: Verite Filmmaking

Against the Tide (India)
Director: Sarvnik Kaur

Special Jury Award: Creative Vision

Fantastic Machine (Sweden/Denmark)
Director: Axel Danielson


Audience Award

Shayda (Australia)
Director: Noora Niasari

Grand Jury Prize

Scrapper (UK)
Director: Charlotte Regan

Directing Award

Marija Kavtaradze
Slow (Lithuania/Spain/Sweden)

Special Jury Award: Creative Vision

Animalia (France/Morocco/Qatar)
Director: Sofia Alaoui

Special Jury Award: Best Performance

Rosa Marchant
When It Melts (Belgium/Netherlands)

Special Jury Award: Cinematography

Lílis Soares
Mami Wata (Nigeria)


Audience Award

Kokomo City
Director: D. Smith

Innovator Award

Kokomo City
Director: D. Smith


Grand Jury Prize

When You Left Me On That Boulevard (U.S.A.)
Director: Kayla Abuda Galang

Jury Award: US Fiction

Rest Stop
Director: Crystal Kayiza

Jury Award: Directing, International

Valeria Hofmann
AliEN0089 (Chile)

Jury Award: Directing, US

Jarreau Carrillo
The Vacation

Jury Award: Animation

The Flying Sailor
Directors: Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis (Canada)

Jury Award: Nonfiction

Will You Look At Me (China)
Director: Shuli Huang

Jury Award: International Fiction

The Kidnapping Of The Bride (Germany)
Director: Sophia Mocorrea



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