2024 Slamdance Film Festival Announces Award Winners


The 30th Slamdance Film Festival this evening announced the winners of their annual Sparky Awards in Audience and Jury categories for 2024. The festival also announced the recipient of their AGBO Fellowship from Slamdance alumni Joe and Anthony Russo and a curated Acting Award. All winners were announced during the in-person awards ceremony on January 25 at The Doubletree Park City – The Yarrow in Park City, Utah. 

“This year’s award-winning films leave an indelible mark on the world of independent cinema. Each one delves into groundbreaking storytelling and the spirit of human resilience, highlighting the extreme filmmaking talent on show at Slamdance ‘24,” said Slamdance Director Taylor Miller. “We thank our programmers, sponsors, industry partners, and everyone at The Yarrow for creating an inclusive environment in which the filmmakers have been discovered by record-breaking audiences.”

The 2024 Slamdance Film Festival thrived on the mountain this year with screenings both in Park City at The Doubletree Park City – The Yarrow and in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah. Slamdance thrived as it returned to its original home with audiences attending in record numbers resulting in an 18% increase in ticket and pass sales compared to 2023.

A celebration of emerging filmmaking talent from around the world, this year’s lineup consisted of 113 films – 17 of which were World Premiere features. The fully accessible lineup included 32 features, 75 shorts, and five episodics. This year marks Slamdance’s most diverse lineup ever with 43% of the films by BIPOC creators and 43% by female or non-binary filmmakers. The full Slamdance lineup is still available online on the Slamdance Channel through January 28 with the Best of Slamdance ‘24 available from February 2 to the 4. 

The AGBO Fellowship was awarded to Kiarash Dadgar. His short film The Steak was programmed as a part of the Narrative Shorts competition. 

“In The Steak, Kiarash takes an innovative and bold approach. Such films often pave the way for new storytelling techniques and inspire other filmmakers to think outside the box. It’s always exciting to witness a piece of art that challenges conventional methods and offers a unique experience to its audience,” said Angela Russo-Otstot, Chief Creative Officer at AGBO.

Esteemed auteurs and industry professionals voted to determine the Slamdance Jury Awards which are given to films and filmmakers in nine categories: Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Breakout Features, Unstoppable, Animated Shorts, Experimental Shorts, Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, and Episodes.

“With or without a Sparky award, every Slamdance filmmaker has shown us how independent film can make sense of the chaotic world we find ourselves in. They accomplish this by valuing creativity more than corporate capital and in their craft take filmmaking to the edge. As an artist-led community we celebrate their courageous work that will surely shape the future of the moving image.” stated Slamdance President and Founder Peter Baxter.

This year, Slamdance has introduced the Summer Chastant Episodic Award, honoring her storytelling legacy. The inaugural winner, Jono Hunter for Night Drives (Canada) embodies her spirit of narrative innovation with his unapologetic perspective. 

The Narrative Feature Grand Jury prize was awarded to The Accident (Italy) directed by Giuseppe Garau, with an Honorable Mention given to The Complex Forms (Italy) directed by Fabio D’Orta. The jury stated: “A remarkable testimony to storytelling with every performance incredibly anchored and real. The framing was fresh and self-aware. This film was engaging from beginning to end and stayed with each of us long after. It’s no Accident It’s our winner.” 

The Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Inheritance (United States), directed by Matt Moyer and Amy Toensing. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Petro (United States), directed by Sean Mattison. The jury Our Slamdance 2024 documentary features grabbed us by the heart and stopped us in our tracks. To witness the unveiling layers of reality, one frame at a time – a journey through the poignant, powerful stories that define our time.”

The 2024 Slamdance Unstoppable Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Good Bad Things (United States) directed by Shane Stanger. The Honorable Mention goes to Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World (United States) directed by Julio C. Palacio. The Unstoppable Jury stated: “The 2024 Slamdance Unstoppable program showcased its commitment to empowering filmmakers with disabilities by featuring some of the most diverse, barrier-breaking narratives that reshape cinema’s approach to disability, highlighting unique perspectives from visionary artists who are unstoppable in their creativity and in inspiring the industry.”

The Breakouts Feature Grand Jury Prize is awarded to Chaperone (United States) directed byZoe Eisenbergwith the Honorable Mention going to Slide (United States) directed by Bill Plympton. The Breakouts jury stated the following about the winners: “From behind the scenes to the screen, these winners are a perfect blend of fresh and familiar.”

The 2024 Episodes Grand Jury Prize is given to Restorage (United States) directed by E’an Verdugo with an honorable mention awarded to Dog Spelled Backwards (United States) directed by Tim Almeida. The jury stated: “A true variety of styles and genre, these episodes represent 2024 and so much more”

The 2024 Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize is given to Fishing (United Kingdom) directed by Josie Charles and  European Man…American Beach (United States) directed by Rex Shannon, was awarded the Honorable Mention. The jury stated: “Anchored by brilliant performances, our two Narrative Shorts prize winners both perfectly execute examples of comedy and tragedy while continuing to honor the Slamdance tradition of true independent filmmaking.”

The Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize went to Friends on the Outside (Scotland) directed by Annabel Moodie while Remember, Broken Crayons Colour Too (Switzerland) directed by Ursa Kastelic and Shannet Clemmings was awarded the Honorable Mention. The jury stated: “The 2024 Slamdance Short Documentary Program was a mosaic of truth contributing as a unique brushstroke on the canvas of our diverse and dynamic world.” 

The Experimental Short Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Light of Light (Greece) directed by Neritan Zinxhiria with an honorable mention going to Entrance Wounds (United States) directed by Calum Walter. The jury stated: “Our Experimental Shorts category winners this year are both bold and innovative examinations of our complex history through their abstract points of view.”

The Animated Shorts Grand Jury prizes went to Edith And The Tall Child (United States) directed by Kohana Wilson with an honorable mention awarded to Lil Sherbet (United States) directed by Xinhe Zhao. The jury stated:“‘The award-winning Animation Shorts are two films that we believe elevate the craft of hand-drawn storytelling and invite the audience into windows of personal artistic expression.”

The George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award, voted on by filmmakers and given to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival, went to Radha Mehta, director of the United States project DOSH. The festival’s Outstanding Acting Award, which is curated by the Slamdance team, went to John Lawson forDaruma.

The 2024 Audience Awards, voted on by Slamdance attendees went to narrative feature African Giants (United States) directed by Omar S Kamara, documentary feature Demon Mineral (United States) directed by Hadley Austin, and Unstoppable feature Good Bad Things (United States) directed by Shane Stanger. The Audience Award for Episodes went to Night Drives (Canada) directed by Jono Hunter.

This year’s lineup was chosen from over 9,000 submissions, 1,729 of which were features. All films selected in the Narrative Features and Documentary Features competition categories are directorial debuts without U.S. distribution, with budgets of less than $1 million USD – a feature that has been unique to the festival since its founding in 1995. The features hail from 20 different countries from around the world with projects from Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Palestine, Russia, and the UK (United Kingdom) among others.

In addition to the Sparky’s, sponsored prizes for award winners were provided by LUMIX, Pierce Law Group, Summer Chastant Family and AGBO.

 A full list of winners is below:


Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize: The Accident (Giuseppe Garau, Italy)  

Honorable Mention: The Complex Forms (Fabio D’Orta, Italy)

Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize: Inheritance (Matt Moyer, Amy Toensing, United States)

Honorable Mention: Petro (Sean Mattison, United States)

Breakouts Feature Grand Jury Prize: CHAPERONE (Zoe Eisenberg, United States)

Honorable Mention: Slide (Bill Plympton, United States)

Episodes Grand Jury Prize: Restorage (E’an Verdugo, United States)

Honorable Mention: Dog Spelled Backwards (Tim Almeida, United States)


Unstoppable Grand Jury Prize: Good Bad Things (Dir. Shane Stanger)

Honorable Mention: Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World  (Dir. Julio C. Palacio)


Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Fishing (Josie Charles, United Kingdom)

Honorable Mention: European Man…American Beach (Rex Shannon, United States)

Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize: Friends on the Outside (Annabel Moodie, Scotland)

Honorable Mention: Remember, Broken Crayons Colour Too (Ursa Kastelic, Shannet Clemmings, Switzerland) 

Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Light of Light (Neritan Zinxhiria, Greece)

Honorable Mention: Entrance Wounds (Calum Walter, United States)

Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Edith And The Tall Child (Kohana Wilson, United States)

Honorable Mention: Lil Sherbet (Xinhe Zhao, United States)


The AGBO Fellowship, presented by Joe and Anthony Russo, Award Winner: Kiarash Dadgar Mohebi director of The Steak (Canada, Iran) 

Summer Chastant Episodic Award: Jono Hunter director of Night Drives (Canada)

Slamdance Acting Award: John Lawson for Daruma (United States)

George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner: Radha Mehta, director of DOSH (United States)


Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: African Giants (Dir. Omar Kamara)

Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Demon Mineral (Dir. Hadley Austin)

Audience Award for Episodes: Night Drive (Dir. Jono Hunter)

Audience Award for Unstoppable: Good Bad Things (Dir. Shane Stanger)

Press Release

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