A 13-minute dark comedy about Syrian refugees has won the top prize for short films at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
“Aziza,” by Syrian director Soudade Kaadan, won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Film at a ceremony Tuesday night in Park City. Kaadan also edited and, with May Hayek, co-wrote the film.
The film was selected from 73 short films screening at the festival, which were chosen from 9,443 submissions. The members of the three-person jury were actor Sheila Vand (“We the Animals”), playwright Young Jean Lee, and filmmaker and photographer Carter Smith (“Jamie Marks Is Dead”).
Of the seven winning films announced Tuesday, six were directed by people of color, four by women and two by people who identify as LGBTQIA.
The winning shorts will be screened on the festival’s final day, Sunday, Feb. 3, at 10:30 a.m. at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City. A touring show of festival shorts, with a lineup to be determined, will screen in theaters nationwide this fall.
Other award winners are:
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction • “Green,” directed by Suzanne Andrews Correa, written by Correa and Mustafa Kaymak, about an undocumented Turkish pedicab driver who draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community and himself.
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction • “Dunya’s Day” (Saudi Arabia / U.S.), written and directed by Raed Alsemari, about a woman struggling to throw the perfect graduation party after her domestic help abandons her.
Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction • “Ghosts of Sugar Land,” directed by Bassam Tariq, about a group of young Muslim-American men in Sugar Land, Texas, pondering the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining the so-called Islamic State.
Short Film Jury Award: Animation • “Reneepoptosis” (U.S. / Japan), written and directed by Renee Zhan, in which three Renees go on a quest to find God, who is also Renee.
Special Jury Award for Directing • “Fast Horse” (Canada), directed and written by Alexandra Lazarowich, which follows the struggles of Alison Red Crow, a Siksika horseman struggling with secondhand horses and a new jockey as he challenges the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy in the dangerous Indian Relay, a key point in the bareback horse-racing tradition.
Special Jury Award for Directing • “The Minors,” written and directed by Robert Machoian, billed as “a slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.”