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Paramount Theatre | © Jack Newton/WikiCommons

SXSW Film Awards Winners: The Best of the 2016 Festival

Picture of Barbi Barbee
Updated: 21 December 2016
Every year South By Southwest Film marks the midpoint of its 9-day run in Austin by announcing the winners of the SXSW Film Awards. Thirty-two jurors from fields across the film production spectrum — from screenwriting to cinematography to distribution — vote for films that excel in 12 categories including writing, production, and design. SXSW Film highlights independent narratives, documentaries, and short films every year and screens several world premieres.

This year, SXSW Film began on March 11 and continues to run until March 19. The winners of the 2016 SXSW Film Awards were announced on March 15, 2016 at a special ceremony at the Paramount Theater. ‘The Arbalest’ and ‘TOWER’ took the top prizes in the narrative feature and documentary feature categories respectively. Check out the full list of winners below as well as a selection of film trailers.


Narrative Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: The Arbalest

Director: Adam Pinney

Special Jury Recognition for Best Actor: Andre Royo

Film: Hunter Gatherer

Special Jury Recognition for Best Actress: Lily Rabe

Film: Miss Stevens


Documentary Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: TOWER

Director: Keith Maitland

Special Jury Recognition for Portrait Documentary: Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

Director: Matt Ornstein

Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography: The Seer

Cinematographer: Lee Daniel


Short Film Awards

Narrative Shorts

Jury Award Winner: How Was Your Day?

Director: Damien O’Donnell

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: Jim Cummings

Film: Thunder Road

Special Jury Recognition for Writing: Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe

Film: Greener Grass


Documentary Shorts

Jury Award Winner: These C*cksucking Tears

Director: Dan Taberski

Special Jury Recognition: Dollhouse

Director: Terri Timely

Midnight Shorts

Jury Award Winner: MANOMAN

Director: Simon Cartwright

Special Jury Recognition: Don’t tell Mom

Director: Sawako Kabuki


Animated Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Glove

Directors: Alexa Lim Haas & Bernardo Britto

Special Jury Recognition: Pombo Loves You

Director: Steve Warne


Music Videos

Jury Award Winner: Childish Gambino – “Sober”

Director: Hiro Murai


Texas Shorts

Jury Award Winner: The Send-Off

Director: Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan

Special Jury Recognition for Acting: Lindsay Pulsipher

Film: 1985


Texas High School Shorts

Jury Award Winner: Lady of Paint Creek

Director: Alexia Salingaros

Special Jury Recognition: The Archer Hadley Story

Directors: Ben Root & Alex Treviño


SXSW Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design

Jury Award Winner: Miss Me: The Artful Vandal

Designer: MissMe

Special Jury Recognition: Night Stalker

Designer: New Media Ltd

Special Jury Recognition: Eat My Shit

Designer: Octavio Terol

Excellence In Title Design

Jury Award Winner: Sunstone

Director: Aimée Duchamp


SXSW Special Awards

SXSW Gamechanger Award

Winner: Sophie Goodhart, My Blind Brother

Louis Black “Lone Star” Award

Winner: TOWER

Director: Keith Maitland

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship

Presented to: Eileen Meyer