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Queer films awarded at Sundance Film Festival 2020

After 10 days and 128 feature films and 74 short films, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival’s Awards Ceremony took place Saturday night. The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the 2020 Festival, where films were selected from more than 15,100 submissions — were showcased in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance, Utah, alongside work in the Indie Episodic category, panels, music, and New Frontier.

Of the 28 prizes awarded to 25 films – comprising the work of 29 filmmakers – 12 (48 percent) were directed by one or more women; 10 (40 percent) were directed by one or more people of color; and 2 (8 percent) were directed by a person who identifies as LGBTQ+.

Queer-related films among the winners include:

Boys State, which followed seven teens through a Texas leadership camp, won top U.S. Documentary from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Directors Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine negotiated a $10 million distribution deal with Apple and A24 at the festival.

I Carry You With Me, a fictional feature based on a true story directed by Heidi Ewing, won both the Audience Award and Jury Award in Sundance’s Next section. Next films are described by the Festival as “marked by pure, bold works that are distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling. The film is of a pair of gay lovers who immigrated to the United States, one following the other after over a year. It touches on some of the struggles that those who immigrate outside the law face, such as the inability to see family. Sony Classics acquired the film during the festival.

Welcome to Chechnya, a gripping film showing the “Rainbow Railroad” in their attempts to save LGBTQ Chechens from the horrific torture they receive by both government authorities and fellow citizens and family, won the Special Jury Award for Editing, largely for its special technology used to protect the identities of those escaping the country. Over 160 people have been saved by the LGBTQ groups, 44 of which ended up in Canada, and none of which were taken in by the United States.

Other awarded films listed on our Queer Guide to Sundance include:

  • Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: Arthur Jones, Feels Good Man
  • Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres, The Fight

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