Thriller ‘Primer’ Wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance

From Associated Press

The high-tech thriller “Primer,” about two get-rich-quick inventors whose time-travel device complicates their lives, won the top dramatic honor at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday night.

Sundance jurors gave the documentary grand prize to “DiG!,” director Ondi Timoner’s portrait of the friendship and rivalry between musicians Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols.

Awards were presented Saturday night as the 11-day independent film showcase ended.


“Primer” -- written and directed by Shane Carruth, who co-stars -- won the grand jury prize as well as the festival’s Alfred P. Sloane Prize, a $20,000 award presented for films that showcase science and technology.

The audience award for dramatic films, chosen by Sundance moviegoers, went to “Maria Full of Grace,” writer-director Joshua Marston’s Spanish-language tale of a young Colombian woman (Catalina Sandino Moreno) in peril after she becomes a “mule” carrying heroin to the United States.

“Born Into Brothels,” which examines the hardships endured by impoverished children of prostitutes in Calcutta, won the documentary audience honor. The film was directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski.

The directing prize for dramatic features was given to Debra Granik for “Down to the Bone,” her tale of a lower-middle-class wife and mother struggling to kick a cocaine habit. “Down to the Bone” star Vera Farmiga also earned a special jury prize for her performance.

Morgan Spurlock won the documentary directing prize for “Super Size Me,” his indictment of the fast-food industry. It chronicles the deterioration of his health during a monthlong experiment eating nothing but McDonald’s food.

The festival’s dramatic jurors were actors Danny Glover and Maggie Gyllenhaal, director Lisa Cholodenko, producer Ted Hope and cinematographer Frederick Elmes. Serving on the documentary jury were filmmakers Rory Kennedy, Robb Moss and Chris Smith, photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark and cinematographer Robert Shepard.

Among other Sundance winners:

* The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award went to Larry Gross for “We Don’t Live Here Anymore,” a marital drama starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts and Peter Krause.

* “Seducing Doctor Lewis” -- a French-language film by Canadian director Jean-Francois Pouliot, about people in a remote fishing village who connive to keep a Montreal doctor in their midst -- won the world-cinema dramatic audience award.

* Another Canadian film, “The Corporation,” directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s study of the pros and cons of modern corporate structure, won the documentary audience honor for world cinema.

* Nancy Schreiber won the dramatic cinematography award for “November,” a cryptic thriller starring Courteney Cox as a woman experiencing strange visions after a tragedy.

* Ferne Pearlstein received the documentary cinematography award for “Imelda,” chronicling the life of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines.

* The Freedom of Expression Award, given to a documentary that examines social or political issues, went to the Korean film “Repatriation,” director Kim Dong-won’s exploration of North Korean communist inmates held in South Korea.

* Special jury prizes were awarded to “Brother to Brother,” director Rodney Evans’ drama about black gay artists, and “Farmingville,” a documentary by Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval about culture clash in a Long Island community with a large migrant-laborer population.

* The jury prize for short films was shared by “When the Storm Came,” directed by Shilpi Gupta, and “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” directed by Ryan Fleck. The British film “Tomo,” by director Paul Catling, won the international jury prize for short films.