close menu

The Complete Sundance Film Festival 2016 Award Winners List

The weather outside was occasionally frightful, but this year’s Sundance Film Festival was undeniably delightful as scores of incredible filmmakers from across the globe flocked to Park City, Utah to showcase their creations. Yet no film festival would be complete without lavishing awards and accolades upon a new crop of filmmakers, and that is exactly what Sundance did on Saturday night in a ceremony moderated by Taika Waititi, whose Hunt for the Wilderpeople made its bow at the festival and will next be directing Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok.

After making Sundance history on Tuesday with a record-setting $17.5 million dollar sale to Fox Searchlight, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which was independently financed for $10 million, swept both the Grand Jury and Audience Award prizes in the U.S. Dramatic competition. With a name cribbing from the 1915 D.W. Griffith film, The Birth of a Nation is already strong contender for the Oscars in 2017, especially considering that Parker directed, wrote, and starred in the project too. This also marks the fourth consecutive year that a film has netted both Grand Jury and Audience honors in the U.S. Dramatic competition (e.g. Fruitvale Station in 2013, Whiplash in 2014, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl in 2015).

“Thank you Lord, thank you Sundance,” Parker said to the audience as he collected his well deserved award. “I’ve seen first-hand that people are open to the idea of change, and the fact that this is happening means everything to me.”

The dynamic duo behind the Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano-starring “fart drama” Swiss Army Man, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, took home the U.S. Dramatic directing prize. Easily one of the most controversial films at the festival, Swiss Army Man has now proved definitively that there is a place for farting corpses being used as jet skis in modern cinema.

The U.S. Documentary category was a bit more split as Weiner took home the Grand Jury prize. The film follows former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, during his 2013 New York mayoral bid, which derailed due to a sexting scandal. The Audience award went to Jim: The James Foley Story, a powerful account of the 2014 beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State.

Other notable prize winners include The Intervention‘s Melanie Lynskey and Morris From America‘s Craig Robinson, who earned acting awards, as well as Colombia’s Between Sea and Land, which won the World Cinema Dramatic audience award, and Israel’s Sand Storm, which won the Grand Jury prize.

You can see the complete list of award winners below:


Audience Award
The Birth Of A Nation
Nate Parker

Grand Jury Prize
The Birth Of A Nation
Nate Parker

Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Swiss Army Man

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Chad Hartigan
Morris From America

Special Jury Award – Individual Performance
Melanie Lynskey
The Intervention

Special Jury Award – Individual Performance
Craig Robinson
Morris from America

Special Jury Award – Breakthrough Performance
Joe Seo
Spa Night

Special Jury Award
As You Are
Miles Joris-Peyrafitte


Grand Jury Prize
Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman

Audience Award
Jim: The James Foley Story
Brian Oakes

Roger Ross Williams
Life, Animated

Special Jury Award – Vérité Filmmaking
The Bad Kids
Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe

Special Jury Award – Writing
Kate Plays Christine
Robert Greene

Special Jury Award – Social Impact Filmmaking
Dawn Porter

NEXT Audience Award
First Girl I Loved
Kerem Sanga


Audience Award
Between Sea and Land / Colombia
Manolo Cruz, Carlos del Castillo

Grand Jury Prize
Sand Storm / Israel
Elite Zexer

Directing Award
Belgica / Belgium-France-Netherlands
Felix van Groeningen

Special Jury Award – Unique Vision and Design
The Lure / Poland
Agnieszka Smoczyńska

Special Jury Award – Screenwriting
Mi Amiga Del Parque / Argentina-Uruguay
Inés Bortagaray, Ana Katz

Special Jury Award – Acting
Vicky Hernandéz, Manolo Cruz
Between Sea and Land / Colombia


Grand Jury Prize
Sonita / Germany-Iran-Swizerland
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

All These Sleepless Nights / Poland
Michal Marczak

Special Jury Award – Best Editing
We Are X / UK-U.S.-Japan
Editors: Mako Kamitsuna, John Maringouin

Special Jury Award – Best Cinematography
The Land Of The Enlightened / Belgium
Pieter-Jan De Pue

Special Jury Award – Best Debut Feature
When Two Worlds Collide / Peru
Mathew Orzel, Heidi Brandenburg

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
Embrace of the Serpent
Directed by Ciro Guerra


Short Film Grand Jury Prize
Thunder Road / U.S.
Jim Cummings

Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
The Procedure / U.S.
Calvin Lee Reeder

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
Maman(s) / France
Maïmouna Doucouré

Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction
Bacon & God’s Wrath / Canada
Sol Friedman

Short Film Jury Award: Animation
Edmond / UK
Nina Gantz

Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance
Grace Glowicki
Her Friend Adam / Canada

Short Film Special Jury Award for Best Direction
Peacock / Czech Republic
Ondřej Hudeček, Jan Smutny, Ondřej Hudeček

Which film are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below!

HT: Deadline

Image: Fox Searchlight/Mandalay Pictures

For our complete Sundance coverage, click here.

Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about the Avengers and Star Wars. You can follow him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious).

Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND is the Weirdest Movie Ever

Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND is the Weirdest Movie Ever

A Definitive Ranking of All the Candy from WILLY WONKA

A Definitive Ranking of All the Candy from WILLY WONKA

Hound Tall

Hound Tall : Medical Ethics