Film Awards

The Film Awards honor the superlative creativity and talent demonstrated by filmmakers and designers in the SXSW Film Festival program.

2020 Films


Damien Pechberty and Justin Megherbi at SXSW Film Awards – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

Damien Pechberty and Justin Megherbi at SXSW Film Awards – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

About Film Awards

 

The 2020 SXSW Film program comprised 135 Features, including 99 World Premieres, 9 North American Premieres, 5 U.S. Premieres, and 75 films from first-time filmmakers; 119 Shorts including 22 Music Videos; 12 Episodic Premieres; 7 Special Events; 14 Episodic Pilots in two curated programs; 30 Title Design Entries; and 27 Virtual Cinema Projects.

“When we curated and announced our slate for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, filled with an array of wonderful films we were excited to share with our unique audience, we had no idea of the unprecedented impact that Coronavirus would have on all our lives,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “Our hearts were broken for all the filmmakers who invested so much time and talent in their work, hoping for a transformative experience at our event. We’re honored to at least be able to present our juried and special awards. We know that it’s no substitute for the actual festival’s vitality, enthusiasm, and potential for surprising outcomes – and that it is only available to a small fraction of our program – but we hope it will help garner some well-deserved recognition for these wonderful works.”

Feature films receiving Jury Awards were selected from the Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature Competition categories. Short films and other Jury sections, including Film Design Awards, were announced along with Special Awards including: Adobe Editing Award, Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, Final Draft Screenwriters Award, Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, Vimeo Staff Pick Award, and the ZEISS Cinematography Award. Due to the event cancellation, there will be no Audience Awards for 2020.

Learn more about Film Award categories and view the 2020 SXSW Film Award Winners.

SXSW is proud to be an official qualifying festival for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Academy Awards® Short Film Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards for British Short Film and British Short Animation. See more information on Awards eligibility.

A special thank you to our incredible partners for the SXSW 2020 Film Awards: Adobe, Audio-Technica, Bat City Awards, Cinema Printing Company London, The Criterion Collection, Final Draft, Hive Lighting, LEE Filters; Light Iron, Mild2Wild Leather, Oscilloscope, Panavision, Vimeo, and ZEISS.

2020 Winners

 

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Competition

Winner: Shithouse
Director: Cooper Raiff

Special Jury Recognition for Directing: Topside
Directors: Celine Held, Logan George

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: Really Love
Director: Angel Kristi Williams
Actors: Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing

Documentary Feature Competition

Winner: An Elephant in the Room
Director: Katrine Philp

Special Jury Recognition for Achievement in Documentary Storytelling: The Donut King
Director: Alice Gu

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice: Finding Yingying
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Short Film Grand Jury Awards

Narrative Shorts

Winner: White Eye
Director: Tomer Shushan

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: Dirty
Director: Matthew Puccini
Actors: Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn

Special Jury Recognition: Darling
Director: Saim Sadiq

Special Jury Recognition: Single
Director: Ashley Eakin

Documentary Shorts

Winner: No Crying at the Dinner Table
Director: Carol Nguyen

Special Jury Recognition: Mizuko
Directors: Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane

Special Jury Recognition: Día de la Madre
Directors: Ashley Brandon, Dennis Höhne

Midnight Shorts

Winner: Regret
Director: Santiago Menghini

Special Jury Recognition: Laura Hasn’t Slept
Director: Parker Finn

Special Jury Recognition for Creature Design: Stucco
Directors: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling

Animated Shorts

Winner: Symbiosis
Director: Nadja Andrasev

Special Jury Recognition: No, I Don’t Want to Dance!
Director: Andrea Vinciguerra

Special Jury Recognition: The Shawl
Director: Sara Kiener

Music Videos

Winner: 070 Shake – ‘Nice to Have’
Director: Noah Lee

Special Jury Recognition for Animation: Mitski – ‘A Pearl’
Directors: Saad Moosajee, Art Camp

Special Jury Recognition for Direction: The Lumineers – ‘Gloria’
Director: Kevin Phillips

Texas Shorts

Winner: Just Hold On
Directors: Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi

Special Jury Recognition: Coup d’etat Math
Director: Sai Selvarajan

Texas High School Shorts

Winner: Wish Upon a Snowman
Director: Miu Nakata

Special Jury Recognition for Narrative: Ultimatum
Director: Kai Hashimoto

Special Jury Recognition for Documentary: Unveiled
Director: Sofia Bajwa

Special Jury Recognition for Animation: The Orchard
Director: Zeke French

Episodic Pilot Competition

Winner: Embrace
Director: Jessica Sanders

Special Jury Recognition for Drama: Chemo Brain
Director: Kristian Håskjold

Special Jury Recognition for Comedy: Lusty Crest
Director: Kati Skelton

Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design

Winner: Laura Hasn’t Slept
Designer: Olivier Courbet

Special Jury Recognition: The Donut King
Designers: Andrew Hem, Charlie Le

Excellence in Title Design

Winner: See
Designer: Karin Fong

Special Jury Recognition: Why We Hate
Designers: Allison Brownmoore, Anthony Brownmoore

Special Awards

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award

Winner: In & of Itself
Director: Frank Oz

Adobe Editing Award

Winner: You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Editors: Paul Rogers, Additional Editing by David Darg

Final Draft Screenwriters Award

Winner: Best Summer Ever
Screenwriters: Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award

Winner: Miss Juneteenth
Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples

Special Jury Recognition for Performance: Bull
Director: Annie Silverstein
Actor: Rob Morgan

Special Jury Recognition for Documentary: Boys State
Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Vimeo Staff Picks Award

Winner: Vert
Director: Kate Cox

ZEISS Cinematography Award

Winner: Echoes of the Invisible
Director: Steve Elkins

2020 SXSW Film Festival Juries

 

Narrative Feature Competition: Rebecca Keegan, Rodrigo Perez, Kim Yutani

Documentary Feature Competition: Bilge Ebiri, Naomi Fry, Dino Ramos

Narrative Shorts Program: Penelope Bartlett, Monica Castillo, Greta Fuentes

Documentary Shorts: Marjon Javadi, Allison Willmore

Animated Shorts: Katie Krentz, Hana Shimizu, Asalle Tanha

Midnight Shorts: Jonathan Barkan, Derek Kinongo, Brittany Klesic

Music Videos: Jason Baum, Chaka and Qi Dada

Texas Shorts: Denise Hernandez, Jenny Jacobi, Martin C. Jones

Texas High School Shorts: Jonathan Case, Jazmyne Moreno, Barton Weiss

Episodic Pilots: Mitch Hurwitz, Emily Nussbaum, Shelby Stone

Louis Black “Lone Star”: Kathy Blackwell, David Fear, Richard Whittaker

Excellence in Title Design: Ryan Butterworth, Alex Johnson

Excellence in Poster Design: Becky Cloonan, Barak Epstein, Kevin Tong

Film Award Categories

 

Jury Awards

Feature films screening in the Documentary Feature and Narrative Feature categories are eligible for Jury Awards.

Short films screening in the Animated Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Midnight Shorts, Music Videos, Narrative Shorts, Texas Shorts, and Texas High School Shorts categories are eligible for Jury Awards.

Audience Awards

In addition to Jury Awards, all feature films (excluding Special Events) are eligible for Audience Awards by screening section.

Special Awards

The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship is a year-long experience that encourages and champions the talent of an emerging documentary editor. Awarded annually, the fellowship was created to honor the memory of gifted editor Karen Schmeer. For 2019 the fellowship was awarded to Victoria Chalk.

Vimeo is excited to announce the second annual Vimeo Staff Pick Award here at SXSW. Short films featured in the Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Midnight, 360/VR, and Texas Shorts competitions are eligible for this award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize and, of course, a Vimeo Staff Pick. The winning film, Milton directed by Tim Wilkime was released on Vimeo on Wednesday, March 13.

For over 100 years, ZEISS has been making lenses for cinematography, to support filmmaking at all levels. The cinematographers of these films have worked extremely hard to bring you the very best imagery in storytelling and it is their vision which gives life to the director’s story, and for that, we say thank you. The 2019 ZEISS Cinematography Award was awarded to Bruno Murtinho for his film Amazonia Groove.

To honor SXSW co-founder/director Louis Black, a jury prize was created in 2011 called the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award. For 2019 it was presented to The River and the Wall directed by Ben Masters, a feature film that world premiered at SXSW that was shot primarily in Texas or directed by a current resident of Texas. (Opt-in 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. For 2019, this award went to Grace Glowicki for Tito.

For 2019 CherryPicks created the First Feature by a Female Team Award to support its mission to shine a spotlight on female voices. We hope to encourage women and audiences alike to create and support the stories women tell. This year’s winner was Josephine Mackerras for her film Alice.

Design Awards

Each year SXSW Film celebrates the collaboration between filmmakers and designers through the SXSW Film Design Awards, which consists of the Excellence in Poster Design Award and Excellence in Title Design Award.

2019 Winners

 

Feature Film Grand Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Competition

Winner: Alice
Director: Josephine Mackerras

Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble: Yes, God, Yes
Director: Karen Maine

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice: Saint Frances
Director: Alex Thompson

Documentary Feature Competition

Winner: For Sama
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Special Jury Recognition for Empathy in Craft: Ernie & Joe
Director: Jenifer McShane

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence in Storytelling: Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy
Director: Elizabeth Carroll

Short Film Jury Awards

Presented by Vimeo, an all-in-one video platform that provides creative professionals and businesses with tools technology they need to succeed with video– from hosting, to collaborating, to distributing and monetizing.

Narrative Shorts

Winner: Liberty
Director: Faren Humes

Special Jury Recognition: The Orphan
Director: Carolina Markowicz

Documentary Shorts

Winner: Exit 12
Director: Mohammad Gorjestani

Special Jury Recognition: All Inclusive
Director: Corina Schwingruber Ilić

Midnight Shorts

Winner: Other Side of the Box
Director: Caleb J. Phillips

Animated Shorts

Winner: Guaxuma
Director: Nara Normande

Special Jury Recognition: Slug Life
Director: Sophie Koko Gate

Music Videos

Winner: “Pa’Lante” – Hurray for The Riff Raff
Director: Kristian Mercado

Special Jury Recognition: “Quarrel” – Moses Sumney
Directors: Allie Avital, Moses Sumney

Texas Shorts

Winner: I am Mackenzie
Director: Artemis Anastasiadou

Special Jury Recognition: A Line Birds Cannot See
Director: Amy Bench

Texas High School Shorts

Winner: Fifteen
Director: Louisa Baldwin

Special Jury Recognition: Double Cross
Director: Amiri Scrutchin

Episodic Pilot Competition

Winner: Maggie
Director: Sasha Gordon

Special Jury Recognition: Revenge Tour
Directors: Andrew Carter, Kahlil Maskati

SXSW Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design

Winner: Daniel Isn’t Real
Designer: Jock
Design Company: 4twenty limited

Excellence in Title Design

Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Directors: Brian Mah, James Ramirez

Special Jury Recognition: The Darkest Minds
Director: Michelle Dougherty

Virtual Cinema

360° Video: DocumentarySend Me Home
Director: Cassandra Evanisko

360° Video: NarrativeMetro Veinte: Cita Ciega
Director: Maria Belen Poncio

InteractiveRunnin’
Director: Kiira Benzing

StorytellingGloomy Eyes
Director: Jorge Tereso, Fernando Maldonado

Best Use of Immersive ArtsHome After War
Director: Gayatri Parameswaran

Special Jury Recognition – The Future of ExperienceTraverse
Director: Jessica Brillhart

SXSW Special Awards

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
Presented to: Victoria Chalk

Vimeo Staff Pick Award
Presented to: Milton directed by Tim Wilkime

ZEISS Cinematography Award
Winner: Amazônia Groove directed by Bruno Murtinho

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
Winner: The River and the Wall directed by Ben Masters

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
Presented to: Tito directed by Grace Glowicki

CherryPicks Female First Feature Award
Winner: Alice directed by Josephine Mackerras

CherryPicks Special Jury Recognition:
Winner: Days of the Whale directed by Catalina Arroyave Restrepo

Audience Award Winners:

Narrative Feature Competition

Winner: Saint Frances
Director: Alex Thompson

Documentary Feature Competition

Winner: For Sama
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Headliners

Winner: Long Shot
Director: Jonathan Levine

Narrative Spotlight

Winner: The Peanut Butter Falcon
Directors: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz

Documentary Spotlight

Winner: Running With Beto
Director: David Modigliani

Visons

Winner: The Garden Left Behind
Director: Flavio Alves

Midnighters

Winner: Boyz In The Wood
Director: Ninian Doff

Episodic Premiere

Winner: Ramy
Show Runner: Bridget Bedard

24 Beats Per Second

Winner: Nothing Stays the Same: The Story of the Saxon Pub
Director: Jeff Sandmann

Global

Winner: Cachada: The Opportunity
Director: Marlén Viñayo

Festival Favorites:

Winner: Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins
Director: Janice Engel

Excellence in Title Design

Winner: Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse
Directors: Brian Mah, James Ramirez

2018 Winners

 

SXSW Feature Film Grand Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: Thunder Road
Director: Jim Cummings

Special Jury Recognition For First Feature: Carly Stone
Film: The New Romantic

Special Jury Recognition for Writing: Niljla Mu’min
Film: Jinn

Documentary Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: People’s Republic of Desire
Director: Hao Wu

Special Jury Recognition for Best Cast: This One’s For The Ladies
Director: Gene Graham

Special Jury Recognition for Best Feminist Reconsideration of a Male Artist: Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable
Director: Sasha Waters Freyer

SXSW Short Film Jury Awards

Presented by Vimeo. Vimeo empowers video creators of all kinds to tell exceptional stories and connect with their audiences and communities.

Narrative Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Emergency
Director: Carey Williams

Special Jury Recognition for Acting:
Actor: Shirley Chen from Krista

Documentary Shorts

Jury Award Winner: My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes
Director: Charlie Tyrell

Midnight Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Milk
Director: Santiago Menghini

Animated Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Agua Viva
Director: Alexa Lim Haas

Special Jury Recognition: JEOM
Director: Kangmin Kim

Music Videos

Jury Award Winner: “Second Hand Lovers” – Oren Lavie
Director: Oren Lavie

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: “Territory” – The Blaze
Director: The Blaze

Texas Shorts

Jury Award Winner: An Uncertain Future
Director: Iliana Sosa & Chelsea Hernandez

Texas High School Shorts

Jury Award Winner: The Night I Lost My Favorite Jacket
Director: Jenna Krumerman

Special Jury Recognition: CCISD Strong
Director: Sofia Rasmussen

Independent Episodics

Jury Award Winner: Beast
Director: Ben Strang

Special Jury Recognition: She’s the Ticket
Director: Nadia Hallgren

SXSW Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design

Jury Award Winner: The Gospel of Eureka
Designer: Matt Taylor

Special Jury Recognition: A Little Wisdom
Designer: Adam Zhu

Excellence in Title Design

Jury Award Winner: Counterpart Director: Karin Fong

Special Jury Recognition: Godless
Director: John Likens

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW LUNA BAR® Gamechanger Award for Narrative
Winner: First Match, Olivia Newman

Special Jury Recognition:
Unlovable, Suzi Yoonessi

SXSW LUNA BAR® Chicken & Egg Award for Documentary
Winner: On Her Shoulders Alexandria Bombach

Special Jury Recognition:
¡Las Sandinistas!, Jenny Murray

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
Winner: Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
Director: Dana Adam Shapiro

SXSW Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award
Winner: Prospect, Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell

Vimeo Staff Picks Award
Presented to: Krista, Danny Madden

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
Presented to: Kristin Bye

Audience Awards Winners:

Narrative Feature Competition: First Match
Director: Olivia Newman

Documentary Feature Competition: TransMilitary Directors: Gabriel Silverman, Fiona Dawson

Headliners: Isle of Dogs
Director: Wes Anderson

Narrative Spotlight: All Square Director: John Hyams

Documentary Spotlight: The Dawn Wall
Director: Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer

Visions: Profile
Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Midnighters: Upgrade
Director: Leigh Whannell

Episodic: Vida
Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios, So Yong Kim

24 Beats Per Second: Ruben Blades Is Not My Name
Director: Abner Benaim

Global: Virus Tropical
Director: Santiago Caicedo

Festival Favorite: Science Fair Director: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster

Excellence in Title Design: #19 – Offf Barcelona 2017 Directors: Eve Duhamel, Julien Vallee

2017 Winners

 

SXSW Feature Film Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: Most Beautiful Island Director: Ana Asensio

Special Jury Recognition for Best Breakthrough Performance: James Freedson-Jackson Film: The Strange Ones

Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble: Matt Jones, Eleanore Pienta and Will Rogers Film: A Bad Idea Gone Wrong

Documentary Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: The Work Director: Jarius McLeary and Gethin Aldous

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling: I Am Another You Director: Nanfu Wang

Special Jury Recognition for Excellence In Observational Cinema: Maineland Director: Miao Wang

SXSW Short Film Jury Awards

Presented by OneFifty, a content incubator from Time Warner Inc.

Narrative Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Forever Now Director: Kristian Håskjold.

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: DeKalb Elementary Actress: Tarra Riggs

Special Jury Recognition: Charlotte Wells Film: Laps

Documentary Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Little Potato Director: Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller

Midnight Shorts

Jury Award Winner: The Suplex Duplex Complex Director: Todd Rohal

Animated Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Wednesday With Goddard Director: Nicolas Menard

Special Jury Recognition: Pussy Director: Renata Gasiorowska

Music Videos

Jury Award Winner: Leon Bridges – “River” Director: Miles Jay

Special Jury Recognition: Tame Impala- “The Less I Know the Better” Director: Canada

Texas Shorts

Jury Award Winner: The Rabbit Hunt Director: Patrick Bresnan

Texas High School Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Better Late Than Never Director: Atheena Frizzell

Special Jury Recognition: Darcy’s Quinceanera Director: Sam Cooper

SXSW Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design

Jury Award Winner: FRY DAY Designer: Caspar Newbolt

Special Jury Recognition: Like Me Designer: Jeremy Enecio

Excellence in Title Design

Jury Award Winner: Into the Current Director: Chris R. Moberg & Jared Young.

SXSW Virtual Reality Jury Awards

Jury Award Winner Room – Scale: After Solitary Director: Cassandra Herrman, Lauren Mucciolo

Special Jury Recognition Room-Scale for Innovative Use of Virtual Reality Technology in the Field of Health: Reinvent Director: Ian Forester, Sook-lei Liew, Phd

Jury Award Winner 360° Video: Behind the Fence Director: Lindsay Branham, Jonathan Olinger

Special Jury Recognition 360° Video for Technical Excellence: Dreams of “O” Director: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW LUNA® Chicken & Egg Award Winner: Nanfu Wang I am Another You

SXSW LUNA® Gamechanger Award Winner: Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik. Inflame

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award Winner: Mr. Roosevelt Director: Noel Wells

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship Presented to: Leigh Johnson

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award Winner: Peter Vack Assholes

SXSW Audience Awards

Narrative Feature Competition: The Light of the Moon Director: Jessica M. Thompson

Documentary Feature Competition: Dealt Director: Luke Korem

Headliners: Baby Driver Director: Edgar Wright

Narrative Spotlight: Mr. Roosevelt Director: Noel Wells

Documentary Spotlight: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin Director: Jennifer M. Kroot

Visions: Becoming Bond Director: Josh Greenbaum

Midnighters: 68 Kill Director: Trent Haaga

Episodic: Dear White People Directors: Justin Simien

24 Beats Per Second: May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers Directors: Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio

Global: Divine Divas Director: Leandra Leal

Festival Favorites: The Big Sick Director: Michael Showalter

Excellence in Title Design: Into the Current Designer: Chris R. Moberg & Jared Young

Excellence in Poster Design: Like Me Designer: Jeremy Enecio

SXSW Film Design Awards

 

Honoring the long-time partnership between designers and filmmakers, the Film Design Awards will return for their 11th year at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

Excellence in Poster Design Award

The SXSW Excellence in Poster Design Award highlights outstanding work from international design and illustration talent. Each year, we curate the SXSW Film Poster Gallery at the Austin Convention Center with poster designs from films featured in the SXSW Film Program. Posters in this dedicated gallery are eligible for the Excellence in Poster Design Award.

Excellence in Title Design Award

The Excellence in Title Design Award was introduced to shine a much needed light on a part of the filmmaking ecosystem that often slips below the radar. These mini-masterworks stand on their own terms, and we’re proud to give this dedicated space alongside the many other facets of SXSW Film.

Awards Eligibility

 

Having your film selected for SXSW is prestigious in its own right. In addition, we’re pleased to count ourselves among the festivals eligible for both Oscars Shorts, BAFTA qualification, and the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

What does this mean for you?

Oscars

Winners of the SXSW Animated, Documentary and Narrative Short Film categories become eligible for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards.

BAFTAs

Any British Short Film or British Short Animation that screens at SXSW is eligible for a BAFTA nomination.

Film Independent Spirit Awards

All Feature films selected for SXSW are eligible for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

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