Our 2024 Sundance Film Festival coverage continues today by sharing everything we watched on day two. Make sure you follow along throughout the festival as we share our thoughts on the movies you need to keep an eye on in 2024.
With the 2024 Sundance Film Festival winding down, the festival handed out its annual awards to Grand Jury Prize winners and Audience winners. Along with sharing who won the awards, I reviewed two feature films, Between the Temples and Ponyboi.
2024 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
- U.S Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic: In The Summers, Directed by Alessandra Lacorazza
- U.S Grand Jury Prize - Documentary: Porcelain War, Directed by Brendan Bellomo
- World Cinema Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic: Sujo, Directed by Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez
- World Cinema Grand Jury Prize - Documentary: A New Kind of Wilderness, Directed by Silje Evensmo
- NEXT Innovator Award: Little Death, Directed by Jack Begert
- Festival Favorite Award: Daughters, Directed by Angela Patton and Natalie Rae
- Audience Award - U.S. Documentary: Daughters, Directed by Angela Patton and Natalie Rae
- Audience Award - U.S. Dramatic: Didi, Directed by Sean Wang
- Audience Award - World Cinema Documentary: Ibelin, Directed by Benjamin Ree
- Audience Award - World Cinema Dramatic: Girls Will Be Girls, Directed by Shuchi Talati
- Directing Award - U.S. Documentary: Sugarcane, Directed by Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie
- Directing Award - U.S. Dramatic: In The Summers, Directed by Alessandra Lacorazza
- Directing Award - World Cinema Documentary: Ibelin, Directed by Benjamin Ree
- Directing Award - World Cinema Dramatic: In The Land of Brothers, Directed by Raha Amirfazli and Alireza Ghasemi
- U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance: Nico Parker in Suncoast
- U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award - Ensemble: Didi, Directed by Sean Wang
Between The Temples
Probably the most mind-boggling film of the festival because of how it was shot. Director Nathan Silver's decision to shoot most of this film in the actors' faces was a choice I didn't love. There are several moments where it would go from one person to the next, and it was almost like a found footage movie.
There are several funny moments, but ultimately, this never really clicked for me. You have some solid performances across the board, but the script never allows things to develop. Overall, this may land for some, but I don't think general audiences will care for it.
Ponyboi is a young sex worker who is caught up with her pimp named Vinny. While she is out selling herself for a dollar, he also uses her for whatever he needs. Things are tight, so Vinny is selling some lesser-quality drugs that he wants Ponyboi to flip. One night, things go awry when Ponyboi accidentally kills one of her clients, causing things to go south fast.
The element of the film I wasn't expecting was seeing Dylan O'Brien playing this pimp/jerk to perfection. This was some of his best work, with several scene-stealing moments. I'd love to see him lean into a role like this more in upcoming projects. On top of O'Brien, the movie features great performances from Indya Moore and Murray Bartlett—a strong ensemble.
River Gallo's screenplay is exhilarating and adding to the list of feature film debuts from the festival I found impressive. You aren't seeing a movie we haven't seen before in terms of crime thrillers. But what Esteban Arango does with the direction elevated it to another level. Overall, Ponyboi is an exciting thriller that is wild from start to finish.