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‘Splendor’ top drama in Park City

Jury winners were popular with attendees

This article was updated on Jan. 26, 2003, at 7:30 P.M.

PARK CITY, Utah — “American Splendor,” a pungently funny look at the salvation of sad-sack comics author Harvey Pekar, and “Capturing the Friedmans,” a disturbingly weird portrait of a family gone off the deep end, were the winners of the grand jury prizes for dramatic and documentary films respectively at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

Jury picks accurately represented the prevailing sentiments of critics and festgoers who had seen the range of offerings, with the two winning entries having stimulated by far the most favorable comment during the event’s 11-day run, which ended Sunday.

“American Splendor” was directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and produced by Ted Hope for HBO. “Capturing the Friedmans” was directed by Andrew Jarecki and produced by Jarecki and Marc Smerling.

Winner of the coveted audience award for dramatic feature was “The Station Agent,” directed by Tom McCarthy and produced by Mary Jane Skalski, Robert May and Kathryn Tucker. Story of three isolated people who form tentative bonds in rural New Jersey was picked up by Miramax during the festival.

‘Flesh’ embraces award

Copping the documentary audience award was “My Flesh and Blood,” which focuses on a California woman who has gathered around her an enormous brood of physically, mentally and emotionally challenged children. Pic was directed by Jonathan Karsh and produced by Jennifer Chaiken.

World Cinema audience award went to “Whale Rider,” a New Zealand feature about the search for a new leader of a small Maori tribe. Directed by Niki Caro and produced by Tim Sanders, John Barrett and Frank Hubner, pic previously won the equivalent award at the Toronto Film Festival last September.

Directing awards went to Catherine Hardwicke for “Thirteen,” a drama (acquired by Fox Searchlight) about a girl who lurches suddenly into rebellious, irresponsible behavior, and to Karsh for “My Flesh and Blood.”

‘Noza’ noses in for win

Cinematography award in the dramatic category went to Derek Cianfrance for the semi-experimental street racing drama “Quattro Noza,” and in the docu competition to Dana Kupper, Gordon Quinn and Peter Gilbert for “Stevie.”

Jury voted the Waldo Salt screenwriting award to McCarthy for “The Station Agent,” while the docu jury bestowed the Freedom of Expression award upon “What I Want My Words to Do to You,” directed by Judith Katz, Madeleine Gavin and Gary Sunshine.

The dramatic jury gave special jury prizes for outstanding performance to Patricia Clarkson for her work in three films: “The Station Agent,” “Pieces of April” and “All the Real Girls,” and to Charles Busch for his starring role in “Die Mommie Die.”

New special jury prizes for emotional truth were awarded to “All the Real Girls,” directed by David Gordon Green, and “What Alice Found,” directed by A. Dean Bell.

Documentary special jury prizes went to “The Murder of Emmett Till,” directed and produced by Mark Samels, and to “A Certain Kind of Death,” directed and produced by Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock.

Jury prize to ‘Bar’

In the realm of short films, the jury prize was bestowed upon “Terminal Bar,” directed by Stefan Nadelman. Honorable mentions went to “Ocularist,” directed by Vance Malone; “Earthquake,” directed by James Brett; “Pan With Us,” directed by David Russo; “Asylum,” directed by Sandy McLeod and Gini Reticker; “The Planets,” directed by Francesca Talenti; “The Freak,” directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas; “Fits & Starts,” directed by Vince Di Meglio; and “From the 104th Floor,” directed by Serguei Bassine.

Dramatic competition jury consisted of Steve Buscemi, Emanuel Levy, David O. Russell, Tilda Swinton and Forest Whitaker.

Documentary jurors were Nanette Burstein, Susan Froemke, Avon Kirkland, Lesli Klainberg and Doug Pray.

On the shorts jury were Therese DePrez, Scott Foundas and Ruby Lerner.

Sundance Online Film Festival viewers awards were voted to “Broken Saints,” directed by Brooke Burgess (animation), and “One,” directed by Stewart Hendler (short subject).

‘Clouds’ cited

Sundance/NHK international filmmakers awards go to emerging filmmakers from four areas of the world. Winners this year are Yesim Ustaoglu for the screenplay “Waiting for the Clouds” (Europe); Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll for “Whisky” (Latin America); Michael Kang for “The Motel” (U.S.); and Mai Tominaga for “100% Pure Wool” (Japan).

The first annual Alfred P. Sloan feature film prize, a $20,000 cash award to be split between the writer and director of a film that increases the visibility in independent films of science and technology, was bestowed upon the competition entry “Dopamine,” directed by Mark Decena and written by Decena and Tim Breitbach.

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