Groundbreaking Documentary ‘Daughters’ Wins Top Honors at Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY, Utah – Filmmaker Angela Patton received the Festival Favorite Award at the Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition for her documentary “Daughters.” Accepting the award on Friday, Patton expressed hesitation in making the film, citing the lack of representation for black women’s voices. However, she emphasized the importance of sharing stories that are often unheard and unseen.

“Daughters” follows the lives of four girls in Washington, D.C., as they prepare for a daddy-daughter dance with their incarcerated fathers. The documentary explores themes of race, the U.S. criminal justice system, families, and girl power.

The decision to make “Daughters” came after Patton did a TED Talk about the program. Producer Natalie Rae convinced her to take on the project after taking the time to understand Patton and her community. Patton expressed excitement about their continued journey together, saying, “Look out world. Here we come.”

In addition to the Festival Favorite Award, “Daughters” also received the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary. Sundance presented a total of 26 awards out of over 4,400 submissions from around the world.

Another notable recognition went to the documentary “Ibelin” by Benjamin Ree, which received the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary. The film tells the story of Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer who made meaningful connections with online friends around the world before his untimely death.

The awards ceremony at The Ray Theatre featured emotional moments, such as Robert Steen, father of Mats Steen, sharing the impact of his son’s life and unexpected friendships. He emphasized how technology can create and establish relationships that defy isolation and connect people across borders.

The Sundance Film Festival concluded with a celebration of independent filmmakers and their work that highlights important stories and perspectives. Joana Vicente, the Sundance Institute’s CEO, expressed gratitude for the unforgettable stories and the shared celebration of humanity. She emphasized the crucial role that independent artists play in pushing boundaries and creating groundbreaking work.

The festival showcased a diverse range of films and awarded various titles, including the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic and Documentary categories. Other awards recognized directing, screenwriting, editing, ensemble performances, breakthrough performances, and original music.

The Sundance Film Festival continues to be a platform for talented filmmakers to showcase their work and spark important conversations through storytelling.