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Love story 'Like Crazy' takes top prize at Sundance

The film about a young couple kept apart by an immigration issue wins the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize. Other winners include 'How to Die in Oregon,' 'Circumstance' and 'Buck.'

January 30, 2011|By Steven Zeitchik and Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
  • "Like Crazy" Director Drake Doremus holds the U.S. grand jury prize for drama after the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony in Park City, Utah.
"Like Crazy" Director Drake Doremus holds the U.S. grand jury… (Danny Moloshok, Associated…)

Reporting from Park City, Utah — A story of young love challenged by geography emerged as the big winner at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night.

Drake Doremus' "Like Crazy," a romantic drama starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as a star-crossed couple and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the third wheel, took the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize, the festival's highest honor.

The award was the second of the evening for the film; the jury had previously handed a special prize to Jones.

The movie centers on the American Jacob (Yelchin) and the Brit Anna (Jones) as students who fall in love at university and are later kept an ocean apart because of an immigration complication.

The film was acquired by Paramount Pictures and the production company Indian Paintbrush, and will be released by Paramount later this year.

The jury also awarded the grand jury U.S. documentary prize to Peter D. Richardson's "How to Die in Oregon," a story of the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

In accepting the dramatic prize, Doremus said that "this movie is about love, and love never dying and being with you for the rest of your life." Then he thanked his agent.

The prize capped a remarkable turnaround from a year ago, when Doremus and his producing partners landed in this snowy resort town with a more modestly received romantic comedy titled "Douchebag."

In other awards, the audience at the festival gave its top U.S. dramatic prize to Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance," a Persian-language story of a pair of teenage lesbians in contemporary Iran, and its top U.S. documentary prize to Cindy Meehl's "Buck," a look at a real-life horse whisperer.

Four films won a pair of jury prizes: In addition to "Like Crazy," Paddy Considine's "Tyrannosaur," Mike Cahill's "Another Earth" and Danfung Dennis' documentary "Hell and Back Again" each were given two prizes.

Meanwhile, the Ellen Barkin wedding-day comedy "Another Happy Day" won the prestigious Waldo Salt screenplay award for the script by writer-director Sam Levinson, the son of famed Hollywood filmmaker Barry Levinson. In accepting the prize, the younger Levinson gave a choked-up speech in which he said, "When I introduced my film, I cried, so I don't know what the ... is going to happen now." He then proceeded to cry.

steve.zeitchik@latimes.com

Mark Olsen is a special correspondent.

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