'STRONG ISLAND' AND 'NILE HILTON INCIDENT' BOTH WIN AT SUNDANCE / by Mauricio Gonzalez-Aranda

We are immensely happy that our two co-productions who premiered at Sundance 2017 both took home awards: STRONG ISLAND, directed by Yance Ford and edited by Janus Billeskov Jansen won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling and THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT, directed by Tarik Saleh and edited by Theis Schmidt won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. 

Here are the acceptance speeches by both directors: 

STRONG ISLAND: YANCE FORD
I’d like to thank Sundance for allowing us to participate in this festival. I congratulate all my colleagues in this competition. I hope you’ll forgive me for being brief because I do want to say something. Thanks team. I hope you are watching in Denmark. Thank you to my sister who is my hero and my partner, Amanda, who is my love. None of these people have forgot what Strong Island was about. To quote Elie Wiesel, ‘neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim; silence encourages the tormentor, not the tormentor.’ We must interfere now. My brother would be appalled to witness what happened today at our nation’s airports. Sometimes we must interfere. That moment is now. When we leave this place we must interfere, disrupt, and prevent our nation from folding in on itself. We must stand as pillars of fire in the darkness. The time is now. Summon your courage. Gather your cameras. America needs us now more than ever. Thank you. In a world of post-truth, doublespeak, and alternative facts, the jury decided to create the Orwell Award to recognize a film that reveals the truth at a time when the truth is no longer a commodity."

THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT: TARIK SALEH
Sundance is by far the best festival in the world. I want to thank my team, my partner, and my daughter, and you Fares because you’re the best fucking actor in the world. I want to share an anecdote that happened to me today. I’m always kept in the room in the airport especially after 9/11. They’ve always been polite to me. But something special happened to me today, because i forgot my passport in LA in the hotel. I thought i was not going to make it here. I told the security guy that i have a film in Sundance and have to be at the awards show tonight. And he said i’m going to make sure you’re on that plane. It’s not the majority that voted for him, i’m just going to say that.”

Click here for the full list of winners