Fruitvale, about a young black man shot by police in a gritty California neighborhood, won the top prize Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, America's premier independent movie showcase.
The movie by first-time writer and director Ryan Coogler won the US drama Grand Jury award, as well as the US drama audience award at the end of the 11-day filmfest in the snowy Utah mountains.
In the non-US categories, winners included a film about Russia's Pussy Riot feminist group -- whose makers used their acceptance speech to hail the group's cause -- as well as South Korean director O Meul's Jiseul.
Fruitvale -- named after the San Francisco Bay-area neighborhood where the action takes place -- tells the real-life story of Oscar Grant, shot dead by police in the early hours of New Year's Day 2009.
It's co-stars include Octavia Spencer, who won best supporting actress Oscar last year for her role in civil rights drama The Help.
The Grand Jury Prize for a US documentary went to Blood Brother, an American's work on behalf of an AIDS-afflicted community in India. It also took the audience award for US documentary.
Best US drama director went to Jill Soloway for Afternoon Delight, while Zachary Heinzerling won best documentary director for Cutie and the Boxer in the prizes, handed out on the last night of the Sundance festival.
In the world cinema categories, Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer, about the group whose three female members were jailed last year in Moscow, won the Special Jury Prize for a documentary.
"This is an incredible honor and a great prize... Masha, Nadia and Katya started a feminist revolution that we hope continues throughout the world. Let's make it happen," said co-director Mike Lerner.