Sundance Institute made the announcement Tuesday, noting that “Boys State” and “On The Record” were the runner-ups for the award. Others in contention were “Binti,” “Crip Camp,” “The Fight,” “The Reason I Jump,” “Softie,” “Uncle Frank,” and “Welcome to Chechnya.
“Giving Voice,” directed by James D. Stern and Fernando Villena, follows the lives of six students as they compete against fellow high schoolers from around the country in the August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York City. The film was produced by Stern and Villena along with Karen Bove, Schoen Smith and Craig Piligian.
“This film is a compelling and inspiring portrait of six remarkable young people as they discover their power,” said John Cooper, director of the festival. “We’re thrilled that it resonated with audiences at this particularly exciting moment in our culture, where we see the next generation of leaders, artists, and change-makers stepping out, speaking up, and finding their voice.”
“Boys State,” directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, won the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary section at the Feb. 1 awards ceremony. It focuses on a thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas joining together to build a representative government from the ground up.”
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“On the Record,” directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and centering on sexual abuse allegations against Russell Simmons, saw Oprah Winfrey depart as executive producer and Apple+ withdraw as distributor prior to the festival due to her concerns about the “inconsistencies” that were not addressed by the film. . HBO Max has come on as the distributor.
The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will run from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31.