Turkish director Karaçelik’s ‘Butterflies’ wins grand jury prize at Sundance Film Festival

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Turkish director Tolga Karaçelik’s “Butterflies” film won the grand jury award in the category of “Best International Motion Picture” at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 27.

In the “World Cinema” dramatic competition, the grand jury prize went to “Butterflies,” a family-centric drama from Karaçelik whose “Ivy” competed at Sundance three years ago.

It is the first Turkish film to pick up a Sundance award.

Karaçelik, 36, is one of the promising new generation Turkish directors. He is known for his unique style.

After receiving a degree in law in Turkey, he studied film in New York City. He had been writing short stories and poetry.

The audience prize went to “The Guilty.” Danish director Gustav Möller accepted the award, saying, “The idea of the film is that it would be created by the audience … so it’s very special to get the award from the audience.”

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” a powerful drama about the real-life controversial practice of gay conversion therapy, came away with the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, it delighted and shocked audiences at its world premiere in the Utah mountains with its story of a teenage girl forced into therapy after being caught having a sexual encounter with the prom queen.

“On behalf of the entire ’Cameron Post’ team we want to dedicate this to the LGBTQ survivors of sexual conversion therapy,” said Moretz.

“We just wanted to make this movie to shine a light onto the fact that it is only illegal in nine states out of the 50 states in this country to practice sexual conversion therapy.”

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Its director Desiree Akhavan had pre-recorded an acceptance speech for the grand jury prize in Sundance’s “U.S. dramatic competition” section but it could not be played on a night beset by technical difficulties.

“Kailash,” about one man’s crusade to end child slavery, won best US documentary while the U.S. dramatic audience award — the second prize to the grand jury award — went to Andrew Heckler’s “Burden.”

The U.S. documentary directing prize went to Alexandria Bombach for “On Her Shoulders,” — a portrait of a Yazidi girl who survived sexual slavery at the hands of the Islamic State group — while the U.S. documentary audience award went to “The Sentence.”

The Sundance Film Festival, founded by actor Robert Redford, is considered a showcase for independent and documentary films, and festival winners often go on to receive critical acclaim and Hollywood awards season glory.

Among the titles from the 2017 edition of the festival picking up trophies at Hollywood’s various ceremonies are Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” which played out of competition as a midnight screening.

The dark comedy has four Oscar nominations, including best film, director and screenplay.

“Call Me by Your Name,” which director Luca Guadagnino took to last year’s Sundance, also has four Oscar nominations, including best picture.

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