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Senna movie wins Sundance documentary award
Senna movie wins Sundance documentary award
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jan 2011   |  10:29 am GMT  |  27 comments

Senna, the movie about the great Brazilian champion Ayrton Senna, won a prestigious award at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last night.

Director Asif Kapadia collected the World Cinema Audience documentary award for documentary film on behalf of the production team from Working Title films.

The movie is composed entirely of existing footage, much of it from FOM archives, with voice over inserts from many of the key characters in the story like Alain Prost, Ron Dennis and Frank Williams. It tells the story of Senna’s life, his principles, his way of going racing (good and bad) his rivalry with Prost and his political battles with then FIA president Jean Marie Balestre. It is an amazing achievement; serious, at times hilarious, moving and tragic.

“This is amazing. This festival is about films, the audience and the film makers. We spent five years slogging away in the edit suite putting it together and it’s been amazing,” said Kapadia.

The film went down very well with critics and audiences alike and has had some very positive reviews in the USA. It is due to open in Europe in the early summer and we will have a special JA on F1 screening, more details soon.

You can see Kapadia collecting the award on the Sundance video at around 41 minutes on SUNDANCE

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  1. Rich says:

    Great news! Do you know what countries it will be shown in as I am currently living in Norway…


    1. Ask Asif Kapadia @asifkapadia on twitter. I asked him for Australia and he replied back saying it’ll be in the summer (the European one I assume).

      Might also be worth trying Manish Pandey @mpandey69.

  2. Galapago555 says:

    Great news. Congrats to Director Asif Kapadia, Writer Manish Pandey and all the production team. :-D

    I do hope they release it in Spain. Still no news about the film at Universal site, but there are rumours on the web that the film will be opening on the weekend of the Spanish GP (Fri 20 May).

  3. Miha says:

    Can’t wait to see this movie! I’m not sure it will come to my country, though. Not by summer, at least … :(

    James, thank you for making this winter shorter for all of us, F1 fans. To be honest, if I had to choose one source of F1 news (beside live broadcasts of course), I would definitely go for your website

    And a bit off topic, if I don’t break the rules of this blog. Here’s my collection of F1 champions that I put together in last 8 months or so …

    I guess F1 convinced me again, and I’m becoming a die-hard fan again… after those boring 2000-2005 years :)

    Let’s start testing!

  4. brooksy says:

    Fantastic!!! Let’s hope that this means that it will be released in cinemas worldwide ASAP!! Any news James if and when it will be screened or released in Australia mate?

  5. vettelfan says:

    hi james do you know if it going to be shown in usa and if yes when than you

    1. James Allen says:

      After this success, definitely!

  6. Lilla My says:

    Great. Congratulations to the filma makers.
    I hope they will show it in my country!

    1. Mario says:

      If you are where I think you are then it may be a problem.

      1. Lilla My says:

        That’s what I’m afraid of unfortunatelly…:( but maybe we’re wrong and we’ll be surprised – it would be so great.

  7. Coral says:

    Fantastic news. I really can’t wait to see this film. :)

  8. David says:

    Excellent news. Hopefully this means it will be distributed for wider release here in the States.

  9. Paulo says:

    Hi James,

    can you tell me if they gonna show it in Portugal, or do you know some webpage where they update the dates and places where it will be shown?


  10. Great news James.
    Thank you!

  11. Anish says:

    Hi F1 Fans,

    Can you please just click on The Movie Ayrton Senna fan page like button on the following link.


    I appreciate you kind cooperation.

    with loads love

  12. gpfan says:

    I love ‘Sundance’. It is a harbinger of
    must see films. The F1 content is an added

    This will, sight-unseen, be in my dvd

  13. Steve Selasky says:

    I am delighted the movie won at the Sundance Film Festival.

    However, one needs to keep in mind Senna’s F1 is not the same as it is today. Today’s F1 is a very “sterile” environment in which there is very little room for personalities.

    Additionally, the tracks are quite different today.

    An all together different environment.

  14. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, do you know why this film is taking so long to be released? Are there legal obstacles or is it part of the strategy?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a niche film, they want to get it into as many cinemas as possible but there isn’t the promo budget of a Harry Potter or an Ice Age. It was released in Senna mad countries first – Japan and Brazil, which also co-incided with GPs.

      1. Miha says:

        But surely we can expect DVD? Sometime, i guess…

  15. Brian says:

    I can’t believe the movie will be out on DVD in Japan before this is released in Europe – perhaps an initial arthouse release over here would have been better so that F1 fans would get to see it without the extended wait – the months and months of teasing is doing my head in!

  16. Andrew says:

    Its a truly great film.

    I saw it in Japan where I live when it came out. In truth it didn’t even have much of a release here. I saw it at one of the may be 3-4 places showing in Tokyo. 2 weeks later I wanted to see it again – but then it had gone, no longer on anywhere…

    Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

  17. criscles says:

    For all our Australian friends, it will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival on the 27th of February and 6th of March. General Australian Release : Unknown.

  18. Hi James,

    As I am finishing both your 2009 and 2010 books, I’m looking for something to read next and thought it’d be great to have something on Senna before the movie gets released in Oz.

    I don’t think you have written one on him and was wondering if there was one you would recommend reading.



  19. Frank says:

    Great write up. I saw the movie yesterday @ the Adelaide Film Festival. Packed cinema. I grew up watching Formula 1 with my dad but I was only in my early teens and didn’t know a lot of the politics involved or much about Senna’s private life. This film was an eye opener and makes one appreciate how great this man was for the sport and for his people in Brazil. Be ready for a laugh…and some tears. Absolutely fantastic!


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