Kitty Green’s The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiu has won the jury award for best non-fiction short at the Sundance Film Festival.
Green’s film follows girls from across divided, war-torn Ukraine as they audition to play the role of Olympic champion figure skater Oksana Baiul.
Oksana was world champion in 1993 when she was 16 and the following year won the ladies’ single title at the Winter Olympics – the only skater to ever win gold at that event representing Ukraine.
The seven-minute short was produced by Green, Philippa Campey and Michael Latham, with cinematography by Latham.
Green directed Ukraine is not a Brothel, the feature documentary on the country’s topless feminist movement Femen, which caused a stir at its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival as it revealed the group was founded by a man, Victor Svyatski, who left the collective a year earlier.
Some 60 shorts from around the world, culled from 8,061 submissions, screened in Sundance. US writer-director Don Hertzfeldt’s World Of Tomorrow, about a little girl who is taken on a mind-bending tour of the distant future, won the short film grand jury prize.
Frankie Shaw’s SMILF, the tale of a young single mother who struggles to balance her old life of freedom with her new one as a mother, took the jury award for US fiction.
Japanese director Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy!, which follows a 55-year-old single office lady in Tokyo who is given a blonde wig and a new identity by her young, unconventional English instructor, was named best international fiction short. It won the same award at the 24th annual Flickerfest awards in Sydney earlier this month.