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Sundance Film Festival Awards Given Out for 2021

Emilia Jones appears in CODA by Siân Heder, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Did you think that CODA’s Sundance dominance was going to end with its record breaking $25 million acquisition deal? If you did then you were sorely mistaken, as the newly minted Apple release just pulled off a sweep at the Sundance awards like nothing we’ve ever seen. 

A massive crowd pleaser from its opening night premiere, Sian Heder’s drama about a child of deaf adults (CODA) caught between her love for her fishing family and her dreams of going to college and pursuing her love of singing has been winning over hearts all across the nation, thanks to Sundance’s first ever virtual festival. 

The movie has now been crowned with the first of what could very well be a massive awards haul in the year to come, pulling in the Sundance awards for U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, U.S. Dramatic Directing Award (Heder), U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, and a special jury prize for its ensemble cast. 

What were some of the awards not won by the night’s most dominant force? Well, Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), from director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, picked up the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and U.S. Audience Award for Documentary, while Jerrod Carmichael’s directing debut On the Count of Three won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for its script by Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch

In Oscar hopeful news, another special jury prize for acting was given to Clifton Collins, Jr. for his performance in the film Jockey, which was acquired out of the festival by Sony Pictures Classics for a presumed awards run next year. 

For the full list of 2021 Sundance Film Festival award winners, see below: 


Audience Award: “CODA,” dir. Sian Heder

Special Jury Award for Acting: Clifton Collins Jr., “Jockey”

Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble: “CODA”

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, “On the Count of Three”

Directing Award: Sian Heder, “CODA”

Grand Jury Prize: “CODA,” dir. Sian Heder


Audience Award: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker: “Cusp,” dir. Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt

Special Jury Award for Nonfiction Experimentation: “All Light, Everywhere,” dir. Theo Anthony

Jonathan Oppenhein Editing Award: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno, “Homeroom”

Directing Award: Natalia Almada, “Users”

Grand Jury Prize: “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson


Special Jury Award for Acting: Jesmark Scicluna, “Luzzu”

Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: “One for the Road,” dir. Baz Poonpiriya

Directing Award: Blerta Basholli, “Hive”

Grand Jury Prize: “Hive,” dir. Blerta Basholli

Audience Award: “Hive,” dir. Blerta Basholli


Special Jury Award in Verite Filmmaking: “President,” dir. Camilla Nielsson

Special Jury Award: Impact for Change: “Writing With Fire,” dir. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Directing Award: Hogir Hirori, “Sabaya”

Grand Jury Prize: “Flee,” dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Audience Award: “Writing With Fire,” dir. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh


NEXT Audience Award Presented by Adobe: “Ma Belle, My Beauty,” dir. Marion Hill

NEXT Innovator Award Presented by Adobe: “Cryptozoo,” dir. Dash Shaw


Special Jury Award for Acting: Deanna Gibson, “Wiggle Room”

Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: Serhat Karaaslan, “The Criminals”

Jury Award, Animation: “Souvenir Souvenir,” dir. Bastien Dubois

Jury Award, Non-Fiction: “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma,” dir. Topaz Jones and rubberband

Jury Award, International Fiction: “Bambirak,” dir. Zamarin Wahdat

Jury Award, U.S. Fiction: “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” dir. Gregory Barnes

Grand Jury Prize: “Lizard,” dir. Akinola Davies Jr.


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Written by Mitchell Beaupre

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