It opened the 30th Sundance Film Festival 10 days ago and tonight Whiplash has scooped both the US dramatic Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award. Damien Ghazelle’s feature film debut made a splash when it was premiered and received critical acclaim. Based on a short film with the same title, which Ghazelle screened in Sundance last year, Whiplash tells the story of a young jazz drummer (Miles Teller) in pursuit of excellence and his dealing with his brutal, unforgiving instructor (J.K. Simmons).
The special jury prizes for US documentaries went to Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo’s Rich Hill, while Michael Rossato-Bennett’s Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory took the audience award in the same category.
The World Cinema grand jury prizes were awarded to the Chilean revenge thriller, Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’s To Kill a Man and to the Syrian civil war documentary, Talal Derki’s Return to Homs. Meanwhile, Ethiopian females oppression drama, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Difret, which was exec produced by Angelina Jolie, and Israeli documentary about a Palestinian informant, Nadav Schirman’s The Green Prince, won the Audience awards for international features.
The prizes were announced at a ceremony co-hosted by Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally in Park City. The 2014 Sundance Film Festival wraps tomorrow, Sunday 28th January.