PARK CITY, Utah - Fairy tale “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and drug war epic “The House I Live In” were among the winners at the Sundance film festival, which presented its top awards late Saturday.

The Grand Prix for best American fiction went to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” directed by Benh Zeitlin, a film full of imaginary animals, which recounts a fictional journey of a six-year-old girl to some of the remote corners of the world.

The film was developed as part of a program launched by the Sundance Institute, organizer of the festival. “We had more freedom to make this film that I think any first time filmmaker has ever had in America, ever,” Zeitlin said. “And I hope that this movie is like a flag to producers, to allow directors to explore the world, not just creatively but also physically, and go to the bottom of the Earth like we did.” The documentary “The House I Live In” by Eugene Jarecki tells the story of the 40-year war against illegal drugs waged by the United States, which has resulted in millions of people - mostly black - ending up in jail.

“The war on drugs is a terrible score in America, it’s a tragedy that’s unfolding,” Jarecki said as he accepted the award. “We have 2.3 million people in prison in America, more that any nation on Earth. It’s like a terrible tragic secret.”

The Grand Prix for best foreign fiction movies was awarded to “Violeta Has Gone to Heaven” by Chilean director Andres Wood on the life of singer Violeta Parra, a Chilean music icon who died in 1967 after shooting herself in the head.

The Grand Prix for best foreign documentary went to “The Law In These Parts” directed by Israel’s Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, who uses testimony by judges to question the merits of emergency laws introduced in 1967 by Israel on occupied Palestinian territories.

The Turkish film “Can” by Rasit Celikezer received a special jury prize, along with the documentaries “Love Free or Die” by Macky Alston, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” by Alison Klayman and “Searching for Sugarman” by Malik Bendjelloul.

The latter also received the audience award, alongside American-India film “Valley of the Saints” by Musa Syeed, “The Surrogate” by Ben Lewin and the US documentary “The Invisible War” Kirby Dick.

The award Next designed for small-budget films went to US filmmaker Mike Birbiglia for “Sleepwalk With Me.” The ceremony began with a tribute to producer Bingham Ray, one of the fathers of independent cinema, who died Monday while attending the festival.

Nearly 120 feature films were presented this year at Sundance, including 58 in competition.

The festival, founded by actor and director Robert Redford as a counterweight to big-ticket Hollywood events, has grown over the years into the biggest independent film festival in the United States.

Last year, the Grand Prix for best American fiction was awarded to “Like Crazy” directed by Drake Doremus, an account of a passionate long-distance love affair.

The Grand Prize for best American documentary went to a movie about euthanasia, “How To Die in Oregon.”