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A scene from Lucy Walker's short documentary "The Tsunami And The Cherry Blossom," which received an Oscar nomination and a Sundance award on the same day. (Photo courtesy Sundance Institute)
Sundance salutes its best short films

A tale of Somali pirates took the top award for short films at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

The film "Fishing Without Nets," directed by Cutter Hodierne and written by Hodierne and John Hibey, received the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking in a ceremony Tuesday night. The filmmakers also got a check for $5,000 from Yahoo!

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The movie lets a group of Somali pirates tell their own story, discussing the motivation behind their hijackings at sea.

Other winners are:

• Jury Prize in Short Film, U.S. Fiction – "The Black Balloon," a New York story by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie.

• Jury Prize in Short Film, International Fiction – "The Return (Kthimi)," directed by Blerta Zeqiri and written by Shefqet Gjocaj (Kosovo). The movie tells of a man returning from a Serbian prison, and struggling to continue where he left off with his wife and son.

• Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction – "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom," Lucy Walker's "visual haiku" about life returning after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Walker ("Waste Land") also received an Oscar nomination for the film Tuesday, in the documentary short category.

• Jury Prize in Animated Short Film – "A Morning Stroll," Grant Orchard's tale of an encounter between a New Yorker and a chicken. It, too, received an Oscar nomination, in the animated short category.

• Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling – "The Arm," a story of teens and technology directed and written by Jessie Ennis and actresses Brie Larson ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") and Sarah Ramos ("Parenthood").

• Special Jury Award for Animation Direction – Kibwe Tavares' "Robots of Brixton" (United Kingdom), a commentary on race relations in which robots suffer from discrimination and poverty.

The jury consisted of director Dee Rees ("Pariah"), animator/producer/director Mike Judge ("Beavis & Butt-Head," "Office Space"), and Shane Smith, director of public programs at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The winning shorts will screen in the Library Center Theatre, Park City, Sunday at 1 p.m.

-- Sean P. Means



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