"This was honestly one of the most terrifying things I've ever tried to do in my life" ... Ashton Kutcher on playing Steve Jobs.
THE biopic jOBS may have received mixed reviews at the Sundance Film Festival but critics have been unanimous in their praise of Ashton Kutcher in his portrayal of the late Apple co-founder.
The Two And A Half Men star held his own as Steve Jobs in the much-anticipated movie, which closed the independent film event in Utah.
"This was honestly one of the most terrifying things I've ever tried to do in my life," Kutcher confessed at the world premiere . "I've thrown myself into this massive gauntlet of criticism."
All too aware of the enormity of the task at hand, Kutcher said he studied "hundreds of hours" of footage of Jobs, and met several of his friends, to get inside the skin of the man who made Apple the most valuable company in the world before his death in 2011. Kutcher later found himself hospitalised after shooting had wrapped, having followed Jobs's unusual fruitarian diet too closely.
The festival wrapped up with a drama about the last day in the life of 22-year-old shooting victim, Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale, winning both the grand jury prize and the audience award for US dramatic features.
Blood Brother, Steve Hoover's study of an American's work on behalf of an AIDS-afflicted community in India, took the grand jury prize and the audience award for US documentaries.
The world cinema jury prizes went to South Korean director Meul O's drama Jiseul, about the military invasion of a peaceful village in 1948, and Kalyanee Mam's documentary A River Changes Course, about three young Cambodians struggling to deal with the devastating impact of war.
Themes of social taboos, including several films displaying images of graphic sex, came close to derailing Sundance this year, when a local pressure group threatened to make trouble. Documentaries on abortion and the military also resonated strongly.
Australia also provided a talking point with industry and audiences alike. Anne Fontaine's controversial Two Mothers, starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as best friends who fall for one another's sons, was snapped up for crucial US distribution despite receiving lukewarm reviews.
Jane Campion's TV drama Top of the Lake had its world premiere.
A clutch of younger local stars also made their mark including Emily Browning in Sebastian Silva's creepy psychological thriller Magic Magic and Jane Campion's daughter, Alice Englert, in the British horror film In Fear.
Australian heavyweights Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska impressed in Park Chan-wook's English-language horror debut, Stoker. Guy Pearce was back in fine form as a music teacher in crisis in Drake Doremus's haunting drama Breathe In.
Toni Collette re-teamed with her Little Miss Sunshine co-star Steve Carell in the coming-of-age drama The Way, Way Back, which was picked up by distributor Fox Searchlight for nearly $10 million.