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Final Sundance Deals, Awards and Audience Favorites Announced

As this year's Sundance Film Festival came to a close this weekend, some movies found their way into studio hands while others were honored with awards. By now some of these are familiar names (Choke, The Wackness, American Teen) while others are just now coming into the spotlight. Check out some of the awards and acquisitions:

  • Sony Pictures Classics acquired the rights to The Wackness for under $2 million, the odd little film starring Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen. The Wackness also won the Audience Award in the Dramatic category.
  • The Audience Award: Documentary was given to Josh Tickell’s Fields of Fuel, a look at America's addiction to oil.
  • The 2008 Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic competition went to Frozen River, which was directed by Courtney Hunt. According to Variety, "The film tells the story of a desperate trailer mom and a Mohawk woman who team up to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States from Canada. Accepting the award, Hunt said, 'Thanks to Sundance Institute because without these programmers, this film could easily have been lost....I believe in a universe of abundance and I believe that every filmmaker here will find their perfect audience.'" Sony Pictures Classics also bought the rights to River.
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  • Directing awards were given to Nanette Burstein in the Documentary division for American Teen, and Lance Hammer in the Dramatic category for his gritty story Ballast.
  • In the U.S. Documentary category, the top honors from the Jury went to the New Orleans film Trouble the Water which follows "an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband. Armed with a video camera, [they] show what survival means when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters and seize a chance for a new beginning."
  • In the World Cinema: Documentary category, the top honors from both the Jury and the audience were presented to Man on Wire, which "chronicles French artist Philippe Petit's daring dance on a wire suspended between New York's Twin Towers and his subsequent arrest for what would become known as 'the artistic crime of the century.'"
  • Finally, a Special Jury Prize was awarded to Choke for Work by an Ensemble Cast (Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henke). The film is an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's (Fight Club) novel.


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