The Senna documentary has won the World Cinema Audience Award in the World Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Senna was one of 12 films from an entry of 796 to make the final cut at Sundance, and it has received rave reviews all week. The Audience Award, picked up by director Asif Kapadia, will be a vital boost in enabling the film to get a wider distribution in the USA.
“This is fantastic,” said Kapadia, who was so surprised he apologised for being underdressed for the occasion. “First time properly in Sundance, first documentary. It’s been an amazing experience. This festival has kind of restored my faith in festivals almost. It’s about the films, it’s about the filmmakers, it’s about the audience. Every seat is full and it’s just been amazing. This kind of tops it off.”
The film did not win the main World Documentary prize, as voted for by the jury, which went to Hell and Back Again.
In fact Senna was unlucky to come up against a film with a very topical and very American theme, and which was bound to be well received in Utah – it even has music from Willie Nelson!
In the official Sundance guide the Hell and Back Again story is described thus: “Told through the eyes of one Marine from the start of his 2009 Afghanistan tour to his distressing return and rehabilitation in the US, we witness what modern ‘unconventional’ warfare really means to the men who are fighting it.”
As a USA/UK co-production it was eligible for the World Documentary section.
Senna also won an award in Italy on Saturday.