The 2020 SXSW Film Festival Announces Jury and Special Awards

Paramount Theater - Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

Announcing the 2020 Jury and Special Award winners of the 27th SXSW Film Festival, which was canceled by the City of Austin due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. The SXSW Film Festival had several Special Awards juries already in place, and expanded to all juried competitions once the majority of the filmmakers opted in and juries were available.

“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 juried 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.

This year’s program comprised of 135 Features – including 99 World Premieres, 9 North American Premieres, 5 U.S. Premieres, and 75 films from first-time filmmakers – and 119 Shorts including 22 Music Videos, 12 Episodic Premieres, 7 Special Events, 14 Episodic Pilots in 2 curated programs, 30 Title Design Entries, and 27 Virtual Cinema Projects.

Thank you to our 2020 jurors and congratulations to all of the winners!

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

2020 SXSW Film Festival Awards

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 Film Awards

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.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

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