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SXSW Film Festival Awards Given Out!

Last night, the 2023 Film and TV Festival Awards from SXSW were handed out. Taking the top prizes were Raging Grace (Narrative Feature Competition) and Angel Applicant (Documentary Feature Competition). Expect to hear more from these movies, as well as many of the other winners, in the months to come. The rest of the prizes can be seen below.

Here are the SXSW awards:

The SXSW 2023 Film & TV Festival Awards: 

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards 

Winner: Raging Grace
Director/Screenwriter: Paris Zarcilla, Producer: Chi Thai

“Raging Grace’s heady blend of horror, history, and midnight humor announces the arrival of an exciting new filmmaking talent in writer-director Paris Zarcilla. The story of a Filipina house cleaner and her young daughter confronting Britain’s racial and class divides, Raging Grace is both frank and elusive, a film that subverts expectations on its way to a stirring conclusion. In cleverly employing genre tropes to explore vast socio political matters, Zarcilla has crafted a resonant, urgent work about labor, legacy, and diaspora.”

Special Jury Award for Performance: Courtney Eaton

“Courtney Eaton’s fearless portrayal of Riley, a young woman struggling to manage her addictions, ensured that Parachute succeeded as a nuanced take on what holds us back and what lets us fly. The actress is at points hopeful and devastated, quiet and vicious, delivering a remarkable performance.”

Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Eric Branco, Story Ave

“Through an exacting lens both intimate and powerful, DP Eric Branco helps define the vibrant visual language of Story Ave, honoring a slice of New York City with the warmth and specificity that it deserves. His richly layered, studiously cinematic compositions and fluency with the streets of NYC both deepen and enrich the viewing experience. We are thrilled to award Eric Branco with a SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography.”

A big thanks to our Narrative Feature Competition presenting sponsor Panavision, the global provider of optics, cameras, and end-to-end services that power the creative vision of filmmakers. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsor Variety. Variety is the number one entertainment business news brand with over 32MM uniques per month. Featuring award-winning breaking news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights and intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, Variety is the trusted source for the business of global entertainment.

Winner: Angel Applicant
Director/Screenwriter: Ken August Meyer, Producers: Ken A. Meyer, Jason Roark

“Written, directed, edited, and narrated by Kenneth August Meyer, Angel Applicant is a revelation. It is a film that lives dual lives: a gripping, autobiographical story about illness and an incisive work of art history. Angel Applicant illustrates both Meyer’s and artist Paul Klee’s experiences with scleroderma in intimate, thoughtful, highly considered detail—engrossingly so for a viewer unfamiliar with either the creators or the disease. The result is a yearslong undertaking that is stunning, powerful, and unforgettable.”

Special Jury Award for Innovation in Storytelling: Another Body
Directors: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Producers: Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Screenwriters: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Isabel Freeman

Another Body is a powerful film that is timely, unsettling, and innovative in its storytelling. The use of deep fake technology is on the rise, and directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn cleverly and thoughtfully employ it — by deep faking the subjects of the film to protect their identities — to simultaneously convey what it’s capable of as well as its dangers. This creative and powerful technique underscores the film’s message, and will leave you feeling shock and awe.”

Thank you to our category sponsor, ACE91, a content and media company committed to creating films that inspire audiences to engage in positive change. And thank you to our jury award sponsor, The Hollywood Reporter, entertainment’s #1 news source that champions Hollywood’s world-class and world-changing documentaries and filmmakers through journalism.


Winner: It Turns Blue
Director/Screenwriter: Shadi Karamroudi, Producers: Shadi Karamroudi, Mehran Noori, Mina Dreki, Theodora Valentis

“For its impeccable performances, its provocative complexity, and its deeply moving story, the jury recognizes It Turns Blue as the Jury Award winner. This film’s impact was both immediately forceful and relentlessly lasting. By not shying away from the complexities of human life and its darkest reaches, this film is both challenging, transportative, and effective.”

Special Jury Award: Flores del Otro Patio 
Director: Jorge Cadena, Screenwriters: Jorge Cadena, Li Aparicio Candama, Producers: Yan Decoppet, Gabriela Bussmann

“For its radical vision, its amplification of an activist story through its visual language, and for its rich and tender performances, the jury recognizes Flores del Otro Patio as the Special Jury Award winner. This bold and distinctive approach to nonlinear narrative, queer intimacy, and indigenous power is an emotionally resonant and politically salient achievement.”

Winner: Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma)
Director: Sean Wang, Producers: Sean Wang, Sam Davis

“Through Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma), director Sean Wang has captured the intimacy, history, and warmth of two youthful spirits. It’s sort of a respite from the World’s madness. And much like one of those delicious and familiar home-cooked meals, this film fills you up, and makes your soul smile. It’s a call-your-Grandma kind of film!”

Special Jury Award: Suddenly TV
Director/Producer: Roopa Gogineni

“Roopa Gogineni’s Suddenly TV took us into the heart of Sudan’s youth-led movement where creativity finds a way to flourish as a form of resistance. Gogineni’s embedded filmmaking offers an intimate perspective on the relationship between power and storytelling and what happens when the people start to tell their own story.”

Winner: The Flute
Director: Nick Roney, Screenwriters: Nick Roney, Ed Leer, Producers: Brendan Garrett, Ryland Burns

“A perfect midnight blend of humor, horror and gross-out special effects, The Fluteserenaded us with an orchestra of male toxicity and reminded us how not cool it is to keep naked pictures of your ex. Nick Roney’s playful camera work, razor-sharp aesthetic and mastery of tone leave us in rapt anticipation of what sights he has to show us next.”

Special Jury Award: Pennies from Heaven
Director: Sandy Honig, Screenwriters: Sandy Honig, Annabel Meschke, Sabina Meschke, Producer: Jake Honig

“Their joyful commitment to their roles as the defiantly stupid sisters Cher and Jacobson-Schmidt kept us glued to the screen. As co-writers of the film (along with director Sandy Honig), they treated us to a uniquely demented world we hope will be expanded into a twinematic universe.”

Winner: The Debutante
Director/Screenwriter: Elizabeth Hobbs, Producer: Abigail Addison

“In a unique and unapologetic blast of mixed media animation, this bold, bizarre fairy tale is at once hilarious and casually brutal. It affects deeply with a gestural approach to image and sound, and the layered artistry begs for multiple viewings.”

Special Jury Award for Animation Directing: Tom CJ Brown, Christopher at Sea

“This film plays like an artfully executed diary entry. In dreamy and dark ways, it beautifully depicts longing in an unexpected setting for romance. It’s intensely intimate, masterfully designed cinema.”

Winner: Amanda Sum – ‘Different Than Before’
Director/Screenwriter: Mayumi Yoshida

“We were particularly moved by this story of an Asian father’s journey to action when faced with racist hecklers in front of his family. The video creates a brilliant stop Asian hate narrative that accomplishes the near impossible feat of evoking not just tears, but laughter – all in just a few minutes. It’s a rare music video imbued with the power to make viewers smile and weep while learning about racism in America.”

Special Jury Award:  Residente – ‘This is Not America ft. Ibeyi’
Director: Grégory Ohrel

“Our special jury winner is a striking, visceral and timely representation of the struggles people face in Latin America today. It’s a piece worthy of attention from US audiences, as well as Latin. We also felt it incorporates some of the most symbolically rich – and creative – shots we’ve seen recently in music videos.”

Winner: Breaking Silence
Directors: Amy Bench, Annie Silverstein, Producers: Monique Walton, Amy Bench

“Centered around the relationship between a formerly incarcerated daughter and her deaf father, Breaking Silence is a beautiful snapshot and thought provoking documentary that provides a glimpse into a story we don’t often see. Through this duo’s experience facing the lack of services available to the deaf incarcerated community, the father begins a journey of creating new pathways for advocacy. This intimate and personal look at a father’s desire to bring about positive change sheds light on the many challenges the deaf and incarcerated face.”

Special Jury Award: When You Left Me On That Boulevard 
Director/Screenwriter: Kayla Abuda Galang, Producers: Alifya Ali, Kayla Abuda Galang, David Oconer, Udoy Rahim, Samantha Skinner

“Hilarious, whimsical, and fantastical, Kayla Abuda Galang’s When You Left Me On That Boulevard offers a new take on a coming of age story centered around a community we rarely get to see on screen. Much like a home video, the audience is invited for a chaotic but intimate look at what goes on behind the scenes of a seemingly typical family gathering. The performances stood out as authentic and rooted in genuine familial interrelationships.”

A big thanks to IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, for being the presenting sponsor of short films across six competitive sections. The membership-based IMDbPro service empowers entertainment professionals with information and tools designed to help them achieve success throughout their career and is a service of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities.

Winner: Grown
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Jocko Sims, Producers: Jocko Sims, Christopher Santiago, Chaz Hazlitt, Andrew Zolot

“The jury honors Grown, a coming-of-age story told with heart and visually realized with polish and verve. Focused on a teenage boy attempting to move forward after losing his father, Grown features an ensemble cast of actors authentically inhabiting their roles, an elegant directing style, and a capacity to surprise in ways that are believable even when they blindside the audience. While Grown’s protagonist Rogelio may still be trying to figure out exactly who he is, this pilot has a self-assured, firm sense of identity from minute one.”

Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance: Josh Fadem, Harbor Island

“This surreal immersion into life on a barely inhabited island simply would not work if Josh Fadem hadn’t delivered such an anchored, memorable performance. As a comedian who spends his days and nights speaking stand-up into a tape recorder, Fadem brings a sense of humanity to this wonderfully odd setting, as well as a flair for selling both Steven Wright-esque non-sequiturs and bad dad jokes. Harbour Island conceptually grabs your attention. Fadem keeps you watching.”

Winner: Eyestring
Designer: Javier Devitt

“The mashed up image and the title for context strikes curiosity and begs the viewer to see Eyestring. The use of negative space made this poster stand out from a mile away. It also had the ability to evoke such strong emotions and an emotional response from the viewer from its graphic composition to the powerful photo. It was the most visually striking poster.”

Special Jury AwardRiders on the Storm
Designer: Casey Moore
Directors: Jason Motlagh, Mark Oltmanns

Riders on the Storm” was another really great and well-designed poster. We were attracted to the bright green and red contrast of the poster design. The color palette for this poster was striking and very powerful.” 

Winner: Consensus Gentium
Director/Screenwriter: Karen Palmer, Producers: Tom Millen, Thalia Mavros, Jackson Lapsley Scott, Tuyet Huynh

The XR Experience Jury award goes to an experience that shows how technologies meant for connection can also be used to disconnect and divide. Ultimately, the choice to accept or fight it is ours – and it’s just a tap away.

Special Jury Award: Body of Mine
Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Cameron Kostopoulos

Our jury special award goes to a beautifully crafted virtual reality experience that shows how VR can provide a safe space for understanding, reflection, and connection when a safe space in the real world is hard to find.

SXSW Special Awards 

Janet Pierson Champion Award presented by Indiewire
To honor Janet Pierson, Director Emeritus of the SXSW Film & TV Festival after 15 years of leadership, a prize was created in 2023 called the Janet Pierson Champion Award. As part of IndieWire’s dedication to elevating Film & TV creators, IndieWire is proud to present the Janet Pierson Champion Award rewarding innovation and excellence in the art of storytelling to TBD.

Janet Pierson Champion Award 
Winner: Lizzie Shapiro
Lizzie Shapiro is a producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She most recently produced Story Aveand Parachute in the 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival. Previous credits include then feature films Shiva Baby (SXSW, TIFF) and Mickey and the Bear (SXSW, Cannes) that both premiered to critical acclaim and were distributed by Utopia Films. She has also produced several short films that have premiered at film festivals worldwide. Lizzie has participated in the Film Independent Producer’s Lab and IFP Week: No Borders. She is a founding member of the film collective Thick Media.

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
To honor SXSW co-founder/director Louis Black, a jury prize was created in 2011 called the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, presented to a feature film world premiering at SXSW that was shot primarily in Texas or directed by a current resident of Texas. (Opt-in Award)

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award 
Winner: The Lady Bird Diaries
Director: Dawn Porter, Producers: Kim Reynolds, Dawn Porter

The Lady Bird Diaries celebrates an iconic Texan and exalts her Texanhood. Dawn Porter uses only archival treasures to craft a film of visual magnetism and narrative momentum — a real feat. And yet, her film is no hagiography. Through Porter’s savvy direction, viewers are encouraged to sit with the fascinating contradictions of Lady Bird’s politics, passions and place in time. Documentary examinations of the Johnson era are thick on the ground, but the first lady’s intimate confessions open up a rare bloom.”

Special Jury Award: The Herricanes
Director: Olivia Kuan, Producers: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Lisa France, James Short, Olivia Kuan, Justin Baldoni, Andrew Calof

The Herricanes tackles a range of topics with passion, heart and verve, much like its subjects, who were members of the Houston team that was part of the first all female football tackle league in the US in the 1970s.”

Thunderbird Rising Award presented by Thunderbird Pictures
Born from a fusion of LA’s leading-edge artistry and Austin’s independent spirit, Thunderbird Pictures is a full-service Production and Distribution company committed to supporting the filmmaker’s vision from concept through creative marketing and transparent profit participation. The Thunderbird Rising Award is presented to new directors whose original storytelling both inspires and delights.

Thunderbird Rising Award Winner: Paris Zarcilla, Raging Grace

“Thunderbird Pictures celebrates a first-time feature director who demonstrated a level of excellence in all aspects of cinematic storytelling. This juxtaposition of thrilling suspense and evocative social commentary on the modern immigrant struggle was both unique and profound. The Thunderbird Rising Award Goes To Director Paris Zarcilla for his film Raging Grace.”

Thunderbird Rising Special Award: Brittany Snow, Parachute 

Thunderbird Pictures acknowledges a first-time feature director and stellar ensemble cast for their brave exploration of a pressing modern issue. This lucid look at the heartbreak of body dysmorphia and its destructive impact on intimacy and connection was poignant and essential. The Thunderbird Rising Special Award Goes To Director Brittany Snow for her film Parachute.

The Hope Award presented by ACE91
ACE91 is honored to sponsor the Documentary Feature Competition category and the Hope Award. We celebrate these extraordinary films and the talented, compassionate, and diverse filmmakers who made them. Together we amplify the impact of their storytelling. The 2023 Hope Award is presented to a feature documentary that has inspired us to act for the betterment of our communities and the world.  

The Hope Award Winner: Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Director: Davis Guggenheim, Producers: Davis Guggenheim, Annetta Marion, Jonathan King, Will Cohen

“This very intimate exploration of a beloved artist and his incredible journey from young struggling actor to movie star and then to essential leader of a movement to cure Parkinson’s Disease, gave us tremendous hope that there can be a cure for the disease, if not in this lifetime, then in the lifetime of Michael’s children. While the documentary took us deeply into Michael’s life story and exposed his inner thinking, Director Davis Guggenheim made us feel we were with Michael on the journey, not voyeurs watching him. The film was wonderfully crafted through exceptional editing and a creative and unique use of Michael’s body of narrative work. It was hugely inspirational, providing hope against all odds, and reminding us that no matter what hand we are dealt, we each have a part to play in the world. In the face of great success and then in the face of his own mortality, Michael’s perseverance, and incredible bravery, along with the support of his loving family, all deftly shared in the film, was moving and profound.”

The Hope Special Award: Confessions of a Good Samaritan
Director: Penny Lane, Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick

“Director and protagonist Penny Lane’s brave personal exploration of her experience as she donates a kidney to an anonymous person, is an incredibly raw and powerful portrayal of a rarely talked about but vital subject matter. From the initial decision to donate, to the emotional and physical ups and downs of her experience as she realizes her naïveté, to the successful outcome of her operation and donation, Penny’s openness in front of and behind-the-camera, and the style of her filmmaking gave us a powerful window into the various stages of her process and thinking. We went along with her for the ride and at the same time came away with an excellent and important awareness of the history of organ transplantation and the vital need to address this growing challenge. The film helps us realize that ordinary citizens can make a transformative life and death difference in other people’s lives. It was a powerful eye opener to the possibilities of live donor organ transplantation and how it can save lives.”

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
In honor of a filmmaker whose work strives to be wholly its own, without regard for norms or desire to conform. The Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award is presented to a filmmaker from our Visions screening category.

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
Presented to: Chronicles of a Wandering Saint
Director/Screenwriter: Tomas Gomez Bustillo, Producers: Gewan Brown, Amanda Freedman

ZEISS Cinematography Award
ZEISS Cine Lenses is honored to be returning this year to support the SXSW film community in the Cinematography category.  We believe that by supporting the art within the frame, ZEISS helps filmmakers realize their creative vision.

ZEISS Cinematography Award
Winner: Fancy Dance
Cinematographer: Carolina Costa, AMC

“We are honored to present this year’s ZEISS Cinematography Award to Carolina Costa, AMC for her breathtaking work on Fancy Dance. The film creates an intense tone throughout as we are plunged into the gripping narrative of a young woman fighting to celebrate her culture while searching for a mother who may be lost to her forever. Carolina Costa, as Director of Photography for this film, masterfully creates a visual landscape for this emotional story to unfold with beautiful, naturalistic lighting and artful composition. Fancy Dance is a supreme example of cinematography that compliments and elevates the storytelling of a film.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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