"Winter's Bone", "Restrepo" win top Sundance awards

Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:44pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - "Winter's Bone," a stark tale of a young woman trying to keep her family together, and Afghanistan war documentary "Restrepo" won top awards at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday,

"Winter's Bone" earned two prizes, best drama film by the Sundance jury of industry professionals and screenwriting for co-writer and director Debra Granik at the top U.S. gathering for independent movies.

"Restrepo," which tells of a year in the life of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, earned the jury prize for best documentary for filmmakers Sebastian Junger (author of "The Perfect Storm") and Tim Hetherington.

"This country's in a very painful moment, we're in the middle of two wars," Junger said on stage, accepting his award. "If our movie can help this country understand how to go forward, we would be incredibly honored by that."

Sundance, backed by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute for film, kicks off the year for movies made outside Hollywood's major studios, and hits here are often among the most-watched in theaters that show low-budget, art and foreign movies.

"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" was a big winner in 2009 and earned critical acclaim and box office success in theaters, and Sundance has helped launch the careers of directors such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino.

While "Winter's Bone" and "Restrepo" took home top honors from the Sundance juries, audiences also get to vote for their favorites at the festival, which ends on January 31.