Filmmaker Shaunak Sen says he is "unequivocally overwhelmed" after his documentary "All That Breathes" won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival. The 2022 edition of the festival, which was held virtually, saw juries choose the best from the 84 feature and 59 short films-- selected from 14,849 submissions.
The Delhi-based filmmaker's documentary is set against the "darkening" backdrop of the capital's "apocalyptic air and escalating violence" and chronicles how two brothers devote their lives to "protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite".
In an announcement video posted by the official Twitter account of Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Sen said he was thrilled with the big win. "I am absolutely speechless and utterly beaming... The film simply came into existence to a large part because of Sundance support. I am unequivocally overwhelmed and thrilled.
"From the entire team to everybody at Sundance, we can't thank you enough. It feels utterly surreal and absurd. I feel like there is no non-cliche way of saying this, but I can't thank you enough," he said in the video.
The World Cinema Documentary Competition jury included filmmaker Dawn Porter, Emilie Bujes and Patrick Gaspard.
In her citation for the 90-min docu, Bujes described "All That Breathes" as a "poetic film" which delivers an "urgent political story".
"While constructing a singular and loving portrait of protagonists resisting seemingly inevitable ecological disaster – with humorous touches punctuated by unsentimental depiction of the animal kingdom.
"For maintaining its suspenseful tension when portraying the interior struggles of its characters and the contradictions in spirituality and materialism they confront, we present the [World Cinema] Grand Jury Prize to 'All That Breathes,'" it read.
"All That Breathes" is produced by Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer.
Filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu's "Nanny", starring Anna Diop and Michelle Monaghan, bagged the US Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic while the US Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to filmmaker Ben Klein and Violet Columbus for "The Exiles".
The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Alejandro Loayza Grisi for "Utama".
Hollywood star Dakota Johnson-starrer "Cha Cha Real Smooth" bagged the Audience Award: US Dramatic. Directed by Cooper Raiff, the film follows a directionless college graduate embarking on a relationship with a young mom and her teenage daughter while learning the boundaries of his new bar mitzvah party-starting gig.
The Festival Favorite award was presented to the director: Daniel Roher for "Navalny", a fly-on-the-wall documentary thriller about anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.