SXSW Film Festival 2021 Jury and Special Awards

The SXSW Festivals and Conferences were held virtually in 2021 over a period of five days, that included the 28th SXSW Film Festival, the music, comedy, interactive showcases, sessions and guest speakers.

By Liz Lopez

The winners are selected by the following Juries:

Narrative Feature Competition: Amanda N’Duka, Jake Coyle, Joanna Robinson

Documentary Feature Competition: Jacqueline Coley, Sean Fennessey, Steven Zeitchik

Louis Black “Lone Star”: Joe Gross, Ann Hornaday, Stephen Saito

Brightcove Illumination Award: Clayton Davis, Kate Erbland, Inkoo Kang

Narrative Shorts Program: Janicza Bravo, Karen Han, Ina Pira

Documentary Shorts: Opal H. Bennett, Omid Fatemi, Sheila Nevins

Animated Shorts: Bryan Dimas, Chris Prynoski, Taylor K. Shaw

Midnight Shorts: Jason Blum, Arbi Pedrossian, Kristy Puchko

Music Videos: Hugo Burnham, Michael Kauffman, Kristian Mercado

Texas Shorts: Sarah Green, Paula Mejía, Monique Walton

Texas High School Shorts: Laura Kincaid, Hans-Martin Liebing, Cooper Raiff

Episodic Pilots: Jessica Derschowitz, Yassir Lester, Ben Wasserstein

Excellence in Title Design: Brian Mah, Brian Merrell, Erin Sarofsky

Excellence in Poster Design: Damon Nelson, Yen Tan, Erica Williams

Virtual Cinema Competition: Myriam Achard, Jesse Damiani, Liz Rosenthal


The 2021 SXSW Film Festival Awards winners are listed by category below. Film reviews of the many films offered over the course of the five days by the Trueviewreview writers will be posted to this site, including some in Spanish.

Narrative Feature Competition Winner: The Fallout [Director: Megan Park]

Special Jury Recognition for Multi-hyphenate Storyteller: I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) [Directors: Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina]

Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Performance: Islands [Director: Martin Edralin, Actor: Rogelio Balagtas]

Documentary Feature Competition Winner: Lily Topples the World [Director: Jeremy Workman]

Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling: Introducing, Selma Blair [Director: Rachel Fleit]

Special Jury Recognition for Humanity in Social Action: Not Going Quietly [Director: Nicholas Bruckman]


Narrative Shorts Winner: Play It Safe [Director: Mitch Kalisa]

Special Jury Recognition for Visionary Storytelling: Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma [Directors: Topaz Jones, rubberband]

Special Jury Recognition for Direction: Like the Ones I Used to Know [Director: Annie St-Pierre]

Documentary Shorts Winner: Águilas [Directors: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre]

Special Jury Recognition for Courage: Red Taxi [Director: Anonymous]

Special Jury Recognition for Poetry: I Ran From It and Was Still in It [Director: Darol Olu Kae]

Midnight Shorts Winner: The Moogai [Director: Jon Bell]

Special Jury Recognition for Bold Vision: Stuffed [Director: Theo Rhys]

Animated Shorts Winner: Nuevo Rico [Director: Kristian Mercado]

Special Jury Recognition for Innovation: KKUM [Director: Kang Min Kim]

Special Jury Recognition for Storytelling: Your Own Bullshit [Director: Daria Kopiec]

Music Videos Winner: Madame Gandhi – ‘Waiting for Me’ [Director: Misha Ghose]

Special Jury Recognition for How the Hell Did They Do That?!: Waze & Odyssey, George Michael, Mary J. Blige & Tommy Theo – ‘Always’ [Director: Nelson de Castro]

Special Jury Recognition for Pure Joy: Kuricorder Quartet – ‘Southpaw’ [Director: Sawako Kabuki]

Texas Shorts Winner: Summer Animals [Director: Haley Elizabeth Anderson]

Special Jury Recognition for Vision: O Black Hole! [Director: Renee Zhan]

Texas High School Shorts Winner: A Really Dark Comedy [Director: Manasi Ughadmathe]

Special Jury Recognition for Directing: Beyond the Model [Director: Jessica Lin]

Episodic Pilot Competition Winner: 4 Feet High [Directors: Maria Belen Poncio and Rosario Perazolo Masjoan]

Special Jury Recognition for Best Duo: Pretend Partners [Director: Ron Najor]


Poster Design Competition Winner: Bob Moses Featuring ZHU – ‘Desire’ [Creative Director: Owen Brown, Art Director and Illustrator: Benjámin Kalászi and Graphic Designer: Diego L. Rodríguez

Special Jury Recognition: The Box [Designers: James Burns and Shal Ngo, Aleksander Walijewski]

Title Design Competition Winner: The Queen’s Gambit Title Sequence [Designer: Saskia Marka]

Special Jury Recognition: Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn Title Sequence [Designer: Michael Riley]

Virtual Cinema Competition Winner: Samsara [Director: Huang Hsin-Chien]

Special Jury Recognition for Immersive Journalism: Reeducated [Director: Sam Wolson]


The Brightcove Illumination Award honors a filmmaker on the rise, celebrating the innovation and creativity of new artists within the SXSW Film Festival official selections. Presented to: The Fallout [Director: Megan Park]

Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award – In honor of a filmmaker whose work strives to be wholly its own, without regard for norms or desire to conform. Presented to: Delia Derbyshire – the Myths and the Legendary Tapes [Director: Caroline Catz]

Adobe Editing Award Presented to: R#J [Editor: Lam Nguyen]

Final Draft Screenwriters Award Presented to: Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break [Screenwriters: Brook Driver, Matt White, and Nick Gillespie]

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award – Without Getting Killed or Caught [Directors: Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield]

ZEISS Cinematography Award Winner: Gaia [Cinematographer: Jorrie van der Walt]

Mailchimp Support the Shorts Award Presented to: Chuj Boys of Summer [Director: Max Walker-Silverman and writer Marcos Ordoñez Ixwalanhkej Mendoza]

Mailchimp Support the Shorts Special Jury Recognition Presented to: Like the Ones I Used to Know [Director: Annie St-Pierre]

Mailchimp Support the Shorts Special Jury Recognition Presented to: Malignant [Director: Morgan Bond and Nickolas Grisham]

SXSW is an official qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® Short Film competition. Winners of the Best Animated, Best Narrative, and Best Documentary Short Film categories become eligible for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards (Oscars). Any British Short Film or British Short Animation that screens at SXSW is eligible for BAFTA nomination. Films are also eligible for the Independent Spirit Awards. For more information, visit

Source: SXSW

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