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11 June 2023

Love, suicide conquer all at Sundance

From left, Anton Yelchin, Drake Doremus, Felicity Jones, Charlie Bewley, Finola Hughes, and Jonathan Schwartz from the film 'Like Crazy' pose for a portrait in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival (AP)


An Anglo-American young love story entitled "Like Crazy" and a moving documentary about euthanasia, "How to Die in Oregon," won the top prizes at the Sundance film festival Saturday.

The climax of the prestigious 10-day independent movie fest also saw honours for a Norwegian tale of sexual re-awakening and another US-British film about a soldier's struggle after being injured in Afghanistan.

The Grand Jury Prize for a US drama went to "Like Crazy" by American director Drake Doremus, which tells the story of a British and American student couple forced to live apart after she overstays her visa in the US.

It is the sixth movie by the 27-year-old California-born cinematic prodigy , who also wrote the screenplay, and was bought last week by Paramount, who plan to release it nationally later this year.

"How to die in Oregon" by US filmmaker Peter Richardson, which won the best US documentary prize, is a heartbreakingly honest film which casts a sober light on the reality of euthanasia.

It follows the final months, days and moments of terminally-ill patients who decide to end their lives in the western US state, which in 1994 became the first in the US to legalize euthanasia.

The top foreign drama prize went to Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky's "Happy, Happy," which recounts how a woman trapped in a passion-less marriage finds sexual fulfilment in the arms of a new neighbor.

The top prize for a foreign documentary went to the moving Anglo-American film "Hell and Back Again," which tells the story of 25-year-old marine Nathan Harris, after he is seriously injured in the struggle with the Taliban.

The prizes were announced at the end of the 27th Sundance Film Festival, held in the ski resort of Park City and founded by veteran actor Robert Redford to provide a showcase for films independent of the major Hollywood studios.