Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr has won the Short Film Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his film, Lizard.
Lizard, a film he co-wrote with his brother, tells the story of an eight-year-old girl, Juwon, who has the ability to sense danger. Until she gets ejected from Sunday school service, she unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos, Nigeria.
Lizard has made history as the first Nigerian production to win a short film Grand Jury Prize.
Announcing his win on his Instagram page, Akinola, who is also Screen International’s picks for 2020 Stars of Tomorrow, said he is so proud this was made in Lagos by the many hands that make up the beautiful people of Nigeria.
Literally a year to this day we started on a project conceived from a bunch of my childhood memories. Today I’m so grateful to @sundanceorg for awarding LIZARD the the Grand Jury prize for shorts. I’m overwhelmed and as much as I’d love to gloat, filmmaking is really crazy hard. Big love to all those who were part of the shorts program – it’s an honour to be amongst such brilliant films. I have to say this award is really for the whole cast and crew who worked so hard and committed their all to this little film pre and during a global pandemic. I’m so proud this was made in Lagos by the many hands that make up the beautiful people of Nigeria . I hope it serves anyone reading this who has a dream to commit to that dream however farfetch did it seems. @officialpamilerin thank you thank you thank you – this whole time we thought we chose you but in fact you chose us. To all the cast and crew you guys are a dream and I can’t wait to share this with you all. @ritaedwardofficial@charlesetubiebi@demibanwo@patrickdiabuah
The legend that is @iamdargavel who pro juiced the hell out of this thing, you and @lucycjlocket are the real engine of this whole thing, my best friend and co-writer @showdemcamp , and the brilliant @funmbi_o and @nick.hayes_@iyeoluwawunmi for emotional support. A huge amount of gratitude to BBC film @evayatest & @dionne_slayand Rose Garnet who took a punt on this, in our first meeting.
And lastly but not least all those who watched the film – sent messages, emails, calls – those who read the script and gave feedback – On behalf of the whole film – thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Other winners of the short film awards are:
Short Film Grand Jury Prize
Lizard (UK), dir. Akinola Davies
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
The Touch Of The Master’s Hand (USA), dir. Gregory Barnes.
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
Bambirak (USA-Germany), dir. Zamarin Wahdat
Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction
Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma (USA–Germany-France-Italy), dirs. Topaz Jones, rubberband
Short Film Jury Award: Animation
Souvenir Souvenir (France), dir. Bastien Dubois
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting
Wiggle Room (USA), dirs. Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Short Film Special Jury Award for Screenwriting
The Criminals (France-Romania-Turkey), dir. Serhat Karaaslan