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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl takes top Sundance honours (2015)

Me And Earl & The Dying Girl

Story by Jack Foley

COMEDY-drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has taken two of the top honours at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s visually inventive film, which chronicles the friendship between a misfit teenager and a classmate diagnosed with leukemia, received both the grand jury prize and the coveted audience award at the end of the festival.

Audiences and judges warmed to the way in which the film combined elements of cancer-themed tearjerker with a part tribute to the obsessive nature of movie love.

The win marks the third year in a row that one movie has taken both top prizes at Sundance, following the lead of Fruitvale Station in 2013 and Whiplash last year.

Other winners at the festival included The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle’s intimate portrait of the Angulo siblings, who alleviated their confined existence by watching and reenacting movies. The film picked up the grand jury prize for US documentaries.

First-time filmmaker Robert Eggers took home the directing honours for The Witch, a 17th Century New England horror tale, while Tim Talbott took home the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for The Stanford Prison Experiment, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s reconstruction of the eponymous 1971 study conducted by social psychologist Philip Zimbardo.

A special jury award went to director of photography Brandon Trost for his work on The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller’s ’70s-set drama about a young woman’s sexual awakening. That film, along with The Witch, had both been seen as strong best film contenders.

In the World Cinema dramatic competition, the grand jury prize went to Scottish filmmaker John Maclean’s Slow West, a Western starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

And the audience award was presented to Umrika, Prashant Nair’s drama about a rural Indian youth’s trek to Mumbai in search of his missing brother.

In the World Cinema documentary competition, meanwhile, the grand jury prize was awarded to The Russian Woodpecker, Chad Gracia’s inquiry into the Chernobyl disaster as seen through the eyes of the Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich, while the audience award was presented to Dark Horse, Louise Osmond’s film about how the residents of a small Welsh village banded together to breed a prize-winning race horse.

And there was further recognition for another Brit, director Kim Longinotto for Dreamcatcher, her film about the pioneering work of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute in Chicago.

Next story: How To Train Your Dragon 2 wins top prize at Annie Awards