Award Categories

Grand Jury Prizes
The ranking award is the Grand Jury Prize, which recognizes a film in both the Dramatic and Documentary Competitions as the best from the independent film community this year.

World Cinema Grand Jury Prizes
The highest award for international films, the World Cinema Jury Prize recognizes the best dramatic and documentary work in international independent filmmaking this year.

Directing Award
This award honors directors in the Dramatic Competition, Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition.

Cinematography Award
This award celebrates excellence in cinematography in the Dramatic Competition, Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition.

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
The Dramatic Competition jury chooses a film to receive this specific award, which honors outstanding screenwriting.

Screenwriting Award: World Cinema Dramatic
The World Cinema Dramatic Competition jury selects a film to receive this specific award, which honors outstanding screenwriting.

Documentary Editing Award
The Documentary Competition jury and the World Cinema Documentary Competition jury both choose a film to receive this specific award, which honors excellence in editing.

Audience Awards
Audience Awards are bestowed upon films based on the results of ballots cast by Festivalgoers at the theatres after screenings. Audience Awards are presented to films in the Festival’s Dramatic Competition, Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition.

The U.S. Dramatic and Documentary Competition Audience Awards are presented by Acura.

Festival audiences also vote to select the recipient of the Best of NEXT Audience Award.

The Best of NEXT Audience Award is presented by Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Jury Prizes in Short Filmmaking
The following prizes are bestowed on short films in the Festival that exemplify outstanding vision and creativity in their respective categories:
  » Short Film Grand Jury Prize
  » Short Film Jury Prize: U.S. Fiction
  » Short Film Jury Prize: International Fiction
  » Short Film Jury Prize: Non-fiction
  » Short Film Jury Prize: Animation

The Shorts Programs are presented by Yahoo!

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
Provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this juried award is presented to the writer and director of an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.

Special Jury Prizes
The Dramatic Competition, Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, and Shorts Competition juries may, at their discretion, select films from each of these categories to receive special recognition for their unique vision or excellence.

Sundance/NHK Award
This annual award was created to support the next generation of emerging directors.

Sally Menke Memorial Fellowship
Sally Menke was deeply invested in Sundance Institute as a long-time Creative Advisor for the Institute’s Labs and Rough Cut Screenings. Sally’s husband Dean and her children, Isabella and Lucas, have set up an editing Fellowship in Sally's name to honor her memory as well as her love of mentoring. They ask you—her family, friends, and collaborators in the film community—to contribute to the Sally Menke Memorial Fellowship in lieu of flowers or other condolences.