World News

Sundance Film Festival 2022: Shaunak Sen’s ‘All That Breathes’ Wins the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary

All That Breathes – Still 1

Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, which was the only Indian film at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary award, on Saturday.


It was also among the 75 films to have its world premiere at the festival.

“Brothers Saud and Nadeem were raised looking at a sky speckled with black kites, watching as relatives tossed meat up to these birds of prey. Muslim belief held that feeding the kites would expel troubles. Now, birds are falling from the polluted, opaque skies of New Delhi and the two brothers have made it their life’s work to care for the injured black kites,” reads the festival’s official synopsis of All That Breathes. “The social unrest that begins to materialise in the streets is seen through the perspectives of the brothers and their family, as well as the insects and animals that share the urban landscape.”

After his win, Sen took to Instagram and wrote, “Feels a bit surreal to say this – we’ve won the Grand Jury award at the Sundance Film Festival. My deepest, warmest thank you to everyone, everyone, everyone of this film.”

Delhi-based filmmaker Sen’s first feature-length documentary was Cities of Sleep (2016), which was also shown at various major film festivals and won six international documentary awards.

Sen is a recipient of the IDFA Bertha Fund (2019), the Sundance Documentary Grant (2019), the Catapult Film Fund (2020), and the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund (2020).


The previous edition of Sundance had two Indian films, Fire in the Mountains and Writing with Fire, entered into competition. Writing with Fire won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary category and the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award (Impact for Change), and it is currently in the run for Oscars 2022 as well.

The 37th edition of the Sundance festival was held from January 20 to January 30.

The festival was supposed to follow the hybrid-model, with both an in-person event, in Park City, Utah, and online panels and screenings.

Earlier this month, the Sundance Institute, which curates the festival, announced that all its in-person elements were moved online owing to the surge in COVID-19 cases and concerns around the Omicron variant. The seven satellite screens partners that were supposed to hold film screenings, hosted screenings only for the local community.