A shepherd’s efforts to save his animals from the snow is the story told in what jurors declared the best short film at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
The French-Moroccan film “So What If the Goats Die,” a 23-minute drama with supernatural elements written and directed by Sofia Alaoui, won the Grand Jury Prize for short films, festival organizers announced Tuesday night.
The jury — made up of “Fleabag” actress Sian Clifford, Strand Releasing co-founder Marcus Hu, and artist and filmmaker Cindy Sherman — watched 74 short films, which were selected by festival programmers from a record 10,397 submissions.
The award-winning short films will be screened together at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, the festival’s final day.
Besides “So What If the Goats Die,” the award winners are:
• The Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction went to writer-director Terrence Daye’s “-Ship: A Visual Poem,” which follows a black boy on the day of his cousin’s funeral, as he learns contradictory lessons about masculinity.
• The Short Film Jury Award for International Fiction went to director Dylan Holmes Williams’ “The Devil’s Harmony,” from the United Kingdom. It shows a bullied teen girl leading an a cappella club “on a trail of destruction against her high school enemies,” according to the festival’s program notes.
• The Short Film Jury Award for Non-Fiction went to American director Matthew Kilip’s “John Was Trying to Control Aliens,” about a man whose 30-year quest to broadcast music into space led him to make a different connection on Earth.
• The Short Film Jury Award for Animation went to “Daughter,” a Czech film by Daria Kashcheeva, about a girl in a hospital room trying to recall a childhood moment with her father. The film is also nominated for an Academy Award in the animated short film category.
• The Short Film Jury Award for Acting went to Sadaf Asgari, who appears in director Sonia K. Hadad’s film from Iran, “Exam.” Asgari plays a teen girl who gets stuck in a weird cycle of events when she tries to deliver a packet of cocaine to a client.
• The Short Film Jury Prize for Directing goes to Michael Arcos, for the U.S./Colombian film “Valerio’s Day Out,” in which a jaguar escapes from the zoo, goes on a killing spree, gets captured, is sedated and relocated — then records a video diary for his significant other, Lula.