Sundance Institute Selects Global Filmmaking Awards

The Global Filmmaking Awards are presented by AJ+ at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival


Emotions Run High at Sundance Global Filmmaking Awards

PARK CITY, UT — Sundance Institute today announced the winners of the 2015 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award presented by AJ+, a recently launched digital-only news channel, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are Haifaa Al Mansour, Be Safe I Love You (Saudi Arabia); K’Naan, The Poet (Somalia); Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Luxembourg (Ukraine); and Oskar Sulowski, Rosebuds (Poland/Germany.)

Each winning filmmaker will receive a cash award of $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, eligibility to participate in one of Sundance Institute’s 24 annual artist development labs and ongoing creative and strategic support from Sundance Institute’s world renowned Feature Film Program.

The Institute’s Global Filmmaking Award has supported some of the most impactful emerging filmmakers from around the world. Former winners include: Ariel Kleiman (Australia) for Partisan (in competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival); Talya Lavie (Israel) for Zero Motivation (2014 Tribeca Film Festival, Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Nora Ephron Prize); Jonas Carpignano (Italy) for Mediterranea (in post production); Shonali Bose (India) for Margarita with a Straw (premiered at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival); and Seng Tat Liew (Malaysia) for The Men Who Saved the World (premiered at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival).

The Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award presented by AJ+ marks the first collaboration between the two organizations.

“We are honored to support the Global Filmmaking Award because we see the Sundance Institute as one of the loudest advocates for global social-impact storytelling in the world,” said Raja Sharif, Strategy and Development Manager at AJ+. “Our mission at AJ+ is to empower empassioned voices to be heard around the world, and we are excited to help these up-and-coming filmmakers tell their powerful stories that reflect their unique world views,” continued Sharif.

The recipients of the 2015 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award presented by AJ+ are:

Be Safe I Love You (Saudi Arabia) / Haifaa Al Mansour (Director)

Based on the acclaimed novel by Cara Hoffman, Be Safe I Love You is the story of Lauren, a young soldier who returns home to the U.S. after a tour in the Middle East, and must grapple with post traumatic stress disorder and the past she left behind.

Haifaa Al Mansour’s debut feature Wadjda opened in September 2013 to critical acclaim, and was a staple of the awards season. The National Board Of Review awarded the film with the Freedom Of Expression Award. It was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Non-English Langage Film, and was Saudi Arabia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 86th Academy Awards. Al Mansour holds a degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and a Master’s in Directing and Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She lives in Bahrain.

The Poet (Somalia) / K’Naan (Director)

In war-torn Somalia, an artistic orphan named Maano undertakes a dangerous journey to Mogadishu in order to find his long-lost sister.

K’naan is a Somali poet, rapper and singer, songwriter. He spent his childhood in Mogadishu, Somalia and was on one of the last commercial flights out of the country before its collapse. K’Naan is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs. He rose to prominence with the success of his song “Wavin’ Flag” after it was chosen as the anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He lives in New York.

Luxembourg (Ukraine) / Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (Director)

A policeman confronts professional and personal challenges while working in the exclusion zone in present-day Chernobyl.

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s debut feature The Tribe is one of the most acclaimed films of 2014, premiering at the 2014 Semaine de la Critique in Cannes and going on to win over thirty awards, including Best First Feature at BFI London, the Special Jury Prize at AFI Fest in LA, and most recently, the European Discovery 2014 by the European Film Academy. His previous short films include The Incident, Diagnosis, Deafness and Nuclear Waste. Myroslav graduated from Kiev State Institute of Theatre and Arts, majoring in feature film directing.

Rosebuds (Poland/Germany) / Oskar Sulowski (Director)

Mob-enforcer Maciek must battle his domineering father and wayward younger brother while trying to reform his life.

Oskar Sulowski is the 2015 recipient of Berlinale’s prestigious Jury Prize for Young German Cinema for his screenplay for Rosebuds, which will be his first feature. His short film The Innocents premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival. Sulowski studies directing at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, and speaks Polish, English, French and German.

The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Whiplash, Boyhood, Rich Hill, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite, and through its New Frontier initiative has showcased groundbreaking media works by artists and creative technologists including Chris Milk, Doug Aitken, Palmer Luckey, Klip Collective and Nonny de la Pena. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2015 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors — HP, Acura, SundanceTV and Chase Sapphire Preferred®; Leadership Sponsors — Adobe, Airbnb, Grey Goose® Vodka, LensCrafters, Southwest Airlines and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors — Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Chobani, LLC, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and VIZIO. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

AJ+
AJ+ is a recently launched digital-only news channel, headquartered in San Francisco, California. AJ+ highlights human struggles and achievements, empowers impassioned voices, and challenges the status quo. AJ+ strives to make the voice of the voiceless heard in a brazen way that delivers a refreshing perspective on current events and prompts action. In September of 2014, AJ+ launched its mobile app, which serves users contextual news in the form of short videos, infographics, quizzes, polls, and online conversations. The news on the app is arranged in stacks, which are organized by trending topics in the news. These stacks give users the ability to dive into relevant topics and become educated on the nuances surrounding these news stories. As users are informed about the issues through short but contextually dense content, they are empowered to engage in online debates and discussions with the global AJ+ community. In addition to the AJ+ mobile app, AJ+ also creates content that is delivered in all of its online social communities, which include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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