Sundance Film Festival in Park City and Salt Lake City, UT has come to a close as of Sunday, January 30, and the awards have been announced. While simply getting into Sundance, the world’s most famous indie film festival, launched by Robert Redford, is a huge success, knowing who won, particularly the audience awards, indicates what new films will be influencing our entertainment patterns in the near future.

Films receiving Jury Awards were selected from four categories: U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition and World Cinema Documentary Competition. All films in competition were also eligible for Sundance Film Festival Audience Awards as selected by Festival audiences. The U.S. Audience Awards presented by Acura were announced by Ray Liotta, and the World Cinema Audience Awards were announced by Joshua Leonard. Vera Farmiga announced the Best of NEXT! Audience Award.

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival said, “Success at Sundance can be measured in terms of attendance, sponsorships, acquisitions, even the weather. Ultimately, it’s about the films themselves %u2013 were they well received? Did they resonate with the audience enough to have a life beyond these 10 days? And this year, the answer is a resounding yes.”

Added Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, “For an artist to make it to the Festival among 10,000 submissions is an incredible achievement in his or her own right. We are so appreciative of all who shared their work with us this year, and we commend audiences and juries alike for selecting such a wide range of outstanding films.”

For the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected, representing 29 countries by 40 first-time filmmakers, including 25 in competition. These films were selected from 3,812 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,943 U.S. and 1,869 international feature-length films. 95 films at the Festival were world premieres. This year the Festival’s Short Film Program was comprised 81 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,467 submissions.

2011 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners:

The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to How to Die in Oregon,directed by Peter D. Richardson. In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon gently enters the lives of terminally ill Oregonians to illuminate the power of death with dignity.

The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus; written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Hell and Back Again, directed by Danfung Dennis. Told through the eyes of one Marine from the start of his 2009 Afghanistan tour to his distressing return and rehabilitation in the U.S., we witness what modern “unconventional” warfare really means to the men who are fighting it. U.S.A./United Kingdom

The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Happy, Happy (Sykt Lykkelig), directed by Anne Sewitsky; written by Ragnhild Tronvoll. A perfect housewife, who just happens to be sex-starved, struggles to keep her emotions in check when an attractive family moves in next door. Norway

The Audience Awards are presented to both a dramatic and documentary film in four competitions as voted by Sundance Film Festival audiences. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience
Awards are presented by Acura.

The Audience Award: Documentary was presented to Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl, for her story about the power of non-violence and master horse trainer Buck Brannaman, who uses principles of respect and trust to tame horses and inspire their human counterparts.

The Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to Circumstance, directed and written by Maryam Keshavarz, in which a wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain a teenager’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession.

The World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary was presented to Senna,directed by Asif Kapadia; written by Manish Pandey, about legendary racing driver and Brazilian hero Ayrton Senna, taking us on the ultimate journey of what it means to become the greatest when faced with the constant possibility of death. United Kingdom

The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to Kinyarwanda, directed and written by Alrick Brown, which tells the story of Rwandans who crossed the lines of hatred during the 1994 genocide, turning mosques into places of refuge for Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis. U.S.A./Rwanda

The Best of NEXT!: Audience Award was presented to to.get.her, directed and written by Erica Dunton about five girls who come together for one fateful night where anything goes. They all had secrets, but their friendship was the only thing they knew to be true.

Festival Sponsors
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors%u2014Entertainment Weekly, HP, Acura, Sundance Channel and Chase SapphireSM; Leadership Sponsors%u2014Bing%u2122, Canon, DIRECTV, Honda, Southwest Airlines and YouTube%u2122; Sustaining Sponsors%u2014FilterForGood