Sundance Awards go to Jesse Eisenberg’s ‘A Real Pain,’ ‘In the Summers,’ ‘Porcelain War,’ more

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The Sundance Film Festival announced the 2024 jury and audience awards on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Ray Theatre in Park City.

“This year was especially meaningful to all of us for being the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival,” Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO, said at the awards ceremony. “We congratulate all of our artists in the program this year for their contributions.”

Actor and writer Jesse Eisenberg received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic for his film “A Real Pain.”

Actor and director Jesse Eisenberg wins the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic for his film “A Real Pain.” Eisenberg starred in the film alongside actor Kieran Culkin. (Sydni Merrill)

Eisenberg directed, wrote and starred in the film. “A Real Pain” is about two cousins, played by Eisenberg and actor Kieran Culkin, who travel to Poland after their grandmother’s death.

“I’ve always been insecure about screenwriting, and so I’m so happy that I figured out how to write a movie that is active enough, but still the things I like,” Eisenberg said about his film.

Jesse Eisenberg signs Sundance Film Festival posters for festival volunteers. All festival award winners sign the posters and volunteers are chosen at random to win a poster. (Sydni Merrill)
Jesse Eisenberg stands with a 2024 Sundance Film Festival award. His film “A Real Pain” follows two cousins who trace their ancestry in Poland after their grandmother’s death. (Sydni Merrill)

The film festival’s two top prizes, the U.S. grand jury prizes, were awarded to “In the Summers” for dramatic film and “Porcelain War” for documentary film.

Directed by Alessandra Lacorazza, “In the Summers” follows two sisters who navigate summer visits with their father. “Porcelain War,” directed by Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev, is a reflection on making art during war in Ukraine.

Director Alessandra Lacorazza (left) holds a 2024 Sundance Film award. She received the Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic and her film won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. (Sydni Merrill)
Brendan Bellomo (left) and Slava Leontyev (right) pose with a dog on the press line. Their film “Porcelain War” won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary. (Sydni Merrill)

Director Sean Wang’s film “Dìdi” was awarded both the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic and the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble.

The cast for the film included many first-time actors and Wang’s grandmother. The movie follows the story of a young boy and his immigrant mother navigating challenges.

Director Sean Wang stands with a 2024 Sundance Film Festival award. The name of the film “Dìdi” means little brother in Mandarin. (Sydni Merrill)
Sean Wang (upper left) celebrates his second award with Carlos López Estrada (upper right), another man (lower left) and Valerie Bush (bottom right). The jurors cited the cast’s chemistry as a reason for the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. (Sydni Merrill)

Director and writer Shuchi Talati’s film “Girls Will Be Girls” was awarded both the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic and the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting. “Girls Will Be Girls,” set in India, follows 16-year-old protagonist Mira on her rebellious awakening and coming of age journey.

Director Shuchi Talati stands with a 2024 Sundance Film Festival award. Talati’s film won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival. (Sydni Merrill)
Cast and crew of “Girls Will Be Girls” stand on the press line for a photo. The film explores romance, mother-daughter relationships and other coming of age themes. (Sydni Merrill)

The Festival Favorite Award went to the documentary “Daughters” directed by Angela Patton and Natalie Rae. The film also won the Audience Award: U.S. Documentary. “Daughters” follows four young girls as they prepare for a daddy-daughter dance with their incarcerated fathers in Washington, D.C.

Directors Natalie Rae and Angela Patton stand with 2024 Sundance Film Festival awards. Their documentary “Daughters” follows four young girls as they prepare for a daddy-daughter dance with their incarcerated fathers. (Sydni Merrill)
Director Angela Patton is emotional after receiving the Festival Favorite Award. Patton is also the CEO of the organization Girls for Change. (Sydni Merrill)

Other award-winning dramatic films include “In the Land of Brothers,” “Sujo” and “Little Death.” More award-winning documentaries include “Sugarcane,” “Kneecap,” “Nocturnes,” “Ibelin,” “Frida,” “Union,” “Desire Lines” and “Gaucho Gaucho.”

Short film awards were presented by director Wes Anderson, who recorded a virtual message that played at the awards ceremony.

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