Fruitvale drama and Blood Brother documentary won over audiences and 2013 Sundance Film Festival judges.
Both American films won audience awards and grand jury prizes Saturday at the Sundance Awards.
Fruitvale tells the true story of Oscar Grant, who was 22 years old when he was shot and killed in a public transit station in Oakland, California. Twenty-six-year-old first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler wrote and directed the dramatic narrative.
The dramatic film is named after the San Francisco Bay-area neighborhood where the action takes place in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009.
Video footage of the shooting taken on phone cameras spread online, and the killing triggered protests in Oakland the next day, some of which turned violent.
The film’s co-stars include Octavia Spencer, who won best supporting actress Oscar last year for her role in civil rights drama The Help.
Blood Brother follows a young American, Rocky, who moved to India to work with orphans infected with HIV.
The Cambodian film A River Changes Course won the grand jury prize for international documentary, and a narrative film from South Korea, Jiseul, claimed the grand jury prize for dramatic world cinema.
Founded by Robert Redford, the annual festival in Park City aims to nurture independent filmmakers who might otherwise be eclipsed by output from the major studios – while Hollywood uses it to scout new up-and-coming talent.
This year’s festival has presented 119 feature films from 32 countries, including 51 first-timers and more than 100 world premieres.
One of the most highly-anticipated movies was jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the late Apple founder and computer icon Steve Jobs.
While the film was well received, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak noted that the “personalities are very wrong,” but added: “The movie should be very popular and I hope it’s entertaining.”
Sundance Film Festival 2013 Winners:
Grand Jury Prize for a US drama: Fruitvale by Ryan Coogler.
Grand Jury Prize for a US documentary: Blood Brother by Steve Hoover.
Grand Jury Prize for a foreign drama: Jiseul by Muel O (South Korea).
Grand Jury Prize for a foreign documentary: A River Changes Course by Kalyanee Mam (Cambodia).
Special Jury Prizes for a US drama: The Spectacular Now (acting) and Upstream Color (sound design).
Special Jury Prizes for a US documentary: Inequality for All and American Promise.
Special Jury Prize for a foreign drama: Circles by Srdan Golubovic (Serbia).
Special Jury Prize for a foreign documentary: Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer. (Anglo-Russian).