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SXSW 2020 Jury and Special Awards Announced

List of SXSW 2020 Film Festival Winners

SXSW See you Next Year photo by Shelley Hiam
Photo by Shelley Hiam

South by Southwest (SXSW 2020) was the first major film festival affected by the current health crisis.

As usual, it was supposed to take place between March 13-22 in Austin, Texas but the live portion of the festival was cancelled due to health and safety concerns brought upon by the raging virus epidemic, which has impacted just about everyone around the world by now. 

The decision to cancel the film and music festival was not an easy one, but it was the right thing to do. Other big festivals such as Tribeca Film Festival and the Cannes International Film festival (originally due to happen in May) were postponed for later on this year, but due to its scale and multiple events scattered throughout the city of Austin, SXSW 2020 was cancelled.

Major Film Festivals Disrupted

For many of us, and especially filmmakers due to have premieres at the festival, this was heartbreaking news because SXSW is one of the most important places for up-and-coming filmmakers and new artists.

SXSW provides an incredible opportunity for filmmakers to connect with decision makers in the industry. However, we think that everyone understands the situation and respects the hard decision they had to make. Of course, the safety of festival goers and the local community is first, no question there.

And while it sucks big time for the filmmakers, musicians and artists, who had films/events premiering at this year’s festival, the festival did just announce their Jury and Special Awards, a full list of which you can see below. 

SXSW 2020 Film Festival Cancellation Impact on Indie Filmmakers

Aaron_Rogosin photo of SXSW
Image by Aaron Rogosin/SXSW

Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW wrote:

“When we curated and announced our slate for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, filled with an array of wonderful films we were excited to share with our unique audience, we had no idea of the unprecedented impact that Coronavirus would have on all our lives.

Our hearts were broken for all the filmmakers who invested so much time and talent in their work, hoping for a transformative experience at our event. We’re honoured to at least be able to present our juried and special awards.

We know that it’s no substitute for the actual festival’s vitality, enthusiasm, and potential for surprising outcomes – and that it is only available to a small fraction of our program – but we hope it will help garner some well-deserved recognition for wonderful works”

The lineup of SXSW 2020 comprised of 135 Feature films – including 99 World Premieres, 9 North American Premieres, 5 US Premieres and 75 films from first-time filmmakers and 119 Short films.

Moreover, these numbers only can give us a look how important the festival really is for the filmmaking community. And these numbers do not included the music gigs and other events that take place during the festival. 

List of SXSW 2020 Juries:

  • NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION: Rebecca Keegan, Rodrigo Perez, Kim Yutani
  • DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION: Bilge Ebiri, Naomi Fry, Dino Ramos
  • NARRATIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: Penelope Javadi, Allison Willmore
  • DOCUMENTARY SHORTS: Marjon Javadi, Allisin Willmore
  • ANIMATED SHORTS: Katie Krentz, Hana Shimizu, Asalle Tanha
  • MIDNIGHT SHORTS: Jonathan Barkan, Derek Kinongo, Brittany Klesic
  • MUSIC VIDEOS: Jason Baum, Chaka and Qi Dada
  • TEXAS SHORTS: Denise Hernandez, Jenny Jacobi, Martin C. Jones
  • TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS: Jonathan Case, Jazmyne Moreno, Barton Weiss
  • EPISODIC PILOTS: Mitch Hurwitz, Emily Nussbaum, Shelby Stone
  • LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR”: Kathy Blackwell, David Fear, Richard Whittaker
  • EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN: Ryan Butterworth, Alex Johnson
  • EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN: Becky Cloonan, Barak Epstein, Kevin Tong
SXSW Image by Michael Loccisano
Image by Michael Loccisano




  • Narrative Feature Competition:
    • Winner: SHITHOUSE – dir. Cooper Raiff
  • Special Jury Recognition for Directing
    • Winner: TOPSIDE – dir. Celine Held and Logn George
  • Special Jury Recognition for Acting
    • Winner: REALLY LOVE – dir. Angel Kristi Williams
    • Actors: Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing


  • Documentary Features Competition:
    • Winner: An Elephant in the Room – dir. Katrine Philip
  • Special Jury Recognition for Achievement in Documentary:
    • Storytelling: The Donut King – dir. Alice Gu
  • Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice:
    • Winner: Finding Yingying – dir. Jiayan “Jenny” Shi


  • Narrative Shorts
    • Winner: White Eye – dir. Tomer Shushan
  • Special Jury Recognition for Acting:
    • Winner: Dirty – dir. Matthew Puccini
      • Actors: Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn
  • Special Jury Recognition:
    • Winner: Darling – dir. Saim Sadiq
  • Special Jury Recognition:
    • Winner: Single – dir. Ashley Eakin
  • Documentary Shorts
    • Winner: No Crying at the Dinner Table – dir. Carol Nguyen
  • Special Jury Recognition:
    • Winner: Mizuko – dir. Katelyn Rebelo , Kira Dane
  • Special Jury Recognition:
    • Winner: Dia de la Madre – dir. Ashley Brandon, Dennis Hohne

Midnight Shorts:

  • Midnight Shorts
    • Winner: Regret – dir. Santiago Menghini
  • Special Jury Recognition:Laura Hasn’t Slept” – dir. Parker Finn
  • Special Jury Recognition for Creature Design: Stucco – dir. Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling

Animated Shorts:

  • Winner: Symbiosis – dir. Nadja Andrasev
  • Special Jury Recognition: No, I Don’t Want To Dance!” – dir. Andrea Vinciguerra
  • Special Jury Recognition: The Shawl – dir. Sara Kiener

Music Videos:

  • Winner: 070 Shake – `Nice to Have`dir. Noah Lee
  • Special Jury Recognition for Animation: Mitski – `A Pearl` – dir. Saad Moosajee, Art Camp

Special Jury Recognition for Direction: The Luminners – `Gloria` -dir. Kevin Phillips

Texas Shorts

  • Winner: Just Hold On – dir. Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi
  • Special Jury Recognition: Coup d`etat Math – dir. Sai Selvarajan

Texas High School Shorts

  • Winner: Wish Upon a Snowman – dir. Miu Nakata
  • Special Jury Recognition for Narrative: Ultimatum – dir. Kai Hashimoto
  • Special Jury Recognition for Documentary: Unveiled – dir. Sofia Bajwa
  • Special Jury Recognition for Animation: The Orchard – dir. Zeke French


  • Winner: Embrace – dir. Jessica Sanders
  • Special Jury Recognition for Drama: Chemo Brain – dir. Kristian Haskjold
  • Special Jury Recognition for Comedy: Lusty Crest – dir. Kati Skelton


  • Excellence in Poster Design
    • Winner: Laura Hasn`t Slept – designer Olivier Courbet
  •  Excellence in Title Design
    • Winner: See – designer Karin Fong
  • Special Jury Recognition: Why We Hate – designer– Allison Brownmoore, Anthony Brownmoore
  • Special Jury Recognition: The Donut King – designer – Andrew Hem, Charlie Le


  • Adam Yauch Hornblower Award
    • Winner: In & of Itself – dir. Frank Oz
  •  Adobe Editing Award
    • Winner: You Cannot Kill David Arquette–editors- Paul Rodgers, Additional Editing by David Darg
  •  Final Draft Screenwriters Award
    • Winner: Best Summer Ever-screenwriters- Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Adrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli
  •  Louis Black “Lone Star” Award
    • Winner: Miss Juneteenth – dir. Channing Godfrey Peoples
  • Special Jury Recognition for Performance:
    • Winner: Bull – dir. Annie Silverstein
    • Actor: Rob Morgan
  • Special Jury Recognition for Documentary: Boys State – dir. Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
  • Vimeo Staff Picks Award
    • Winner: Vert – dir. Kate Cox
  • ZEISS Cinematography Award
    • Winner: Echoes of the Invisible – dir. Steve Elkins

For more info head over to SXSW.

What do you think?

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