Home Entertainment Sundance Film Festival 2014: Whiplash wins grand jury prize

Sundance Film Festival 2014: Whiplash wins grand jury prize

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Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash has won the grand jury prize and the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The opening night film, about an obsessive jazz drummer, has now been bought by Sony Picture Classics, which will bring it to a wider audience.

Rich Hill, about a group of teenagers living in a deprived area of rural America, won the documentary prize.

Sundance is the US’s leading indie film festival, backed by Robert Redford’s institute of the same name.

Whiplash‘s writer and director, Damien Chazelle, won the US fiction short film grand jury prize last year at Sundance for his original short version of Whiplash.

Damien Chazelle, 28, then expanded his short to make it into a feature film for this year’s festival.

Damien Chazelle's Whiplash has won the grand jury prize and the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival 2014

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash has won the grand jury prize and the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival 2014

“I remember my first time here was with a short, and the whole reason we made a short was because of my experiences as a drummer,” Damien Chazelle said.

“No-one wanted to finance the film because no-one wants to make a film about a jazz drummer – surprising,” he jokily added.


Rich Hill co-director Tracy Droz Tragos dedicated the win to the film’s subjects.

The documentary audience award went to Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory, which explores the effect of music on elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The annual film festival, now in its 30th year, opened on January 16 in Park City, and will close on Sunday.

Other awards given out on Saturday included the short film audience prize, sponsored by YouTube and based on the number of online hits each entry had. This year’s prize went to Chapel Perilous, a comedy about a man who is visited by a salesman with nothing to sell.

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Sonia is the heart and the artist of the team. She loves art and all that it implies. As Sonia says, good music, a well directed movie, or attending a music or film festival melts people’s heart and make them better. She is great at painting and photography. Working on scrapbooks is her favorite activity.