Tuesday, December 2, 2014

24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards – winners

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) tonight announced the winners of the 24thAnnual Gotham Independent Film Awards at its awards ceremony held at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York City.

Winning the Best Feature award was Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu’s stylistically adventurous existential comedy in which a Hollywood actor attempts to revive his career and obliterate his superhero image past by producing and starring in a serious Broadway drama. Iñárritu previously received a Gotham Tribute in 2006.

The award for Best Documentary went to CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ inside, of-the-moment telling of the Edward Snowden revelations on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies – the third film in her trilogy on post-9/11 America.

Poitras previously won this award in 2010 for The Oath, the second film in the trilogy.

The Gotham Independent Film Audience Award, voted by IFP members, went to Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s epic yet intimate film that recounts the story of a boy’s coming of age from age six to eighteen, filmed over the course of twelve years. Linklater was the recipient of last year’s Gotham Director Tribute.

Winning the award for Best Actor was Michael Keaton for his virtuoso turn as the central character of Riggan Thomas in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Julianne Moore was voted Best Actress for her emotionally detailed and powerful performance in Still Alice, in which she plays a renowned linguistics professor who receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Moore received a Gotham Actor Tribute in 2002.

In awards for emerging talent, Ana Lily Amirpour won the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director award for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, her visually stunning Iranian vampire tale (shot in Bakersfield, CA) that mixes gender politics, romance, cinematic influences from Leone to Lynch, and New Wave and Arab rock in a distinctive debut.

Tessa Thompson received the Breakthrough Actor award for Dear White People, in which she portrays the film’s central character, Sam White, outspoken college radio deejay who conceals her own complicated personal life.

Also presented by IFP for the fourth year at the ceremony was the euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumna of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging women directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film. The winner of the 2014 grant was Chloé Zhao, director of the upcoming Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

As previously announced, in addition to the competitive awards presented, a Special Jury Award was presented jointly to the three leading actors in Foxcatcher - Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum - for their ensemble work in the film, and career tributes were given during the ceremony to actor Tilda Swinton (presented by Amy Schumer), director Bennett Miller (presented by Catherine Keener) and Industry Tribute recipient Netflix’s Ted Sarandos (presented by Will Arnett).

The ceremony was streamed live to a global audience at www.ifp.org.

Complete list of winners for the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards

Best Feature 
presented by Jon Hamm
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Produced by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W. Skotchdopole
Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Best Feature jury included: Jane Fonda, Jon Hamm, Jody Lee Lipes, Oren Moverman and Lydia Dean Pilcher

Best Documentary
presented by Scarlett Johansson
Directed by Laura Poitras
Produced by Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
Released by RADiUS, Participant Media, and HBO Documentary Films
The Best Documentary jury included: Heidi Ewing, Chris Hegedus, Morgan Neville, Jehane Noujaim and Jonathan Oppenheim

Gotham Independent Film Audience Award
presented by Miles Teller & Oscar Isaac
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland, Jonathan Sehring and John Sloss
Released by IFC Films
The Audience Award was voted for on-line by IFP members.

Best Actor
presented by Marisa Tomei
Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Best Actor Jury included: Ramin Bahrani, Jennifer Lame, Kenneth Lonergan, Lupita Nyong’o and Leslie Urdang

Best Actress
presented by Jake Gyllenhaal
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Released by Sony Pictures Classics
The Best Actress Jury included Joshua Astrachan, Lee Daniels, Damian Lewis, Nat Sanders and Uma Thurman

Breakthrough Actor
presented by Heather Graham
Tessa Thompson in Dear White People
Released by Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate
The Breakthrough Actor Jury included: Brie Larson, Ron Simons, Famke Janssen, Shane Carruth and Michael B. Jordan

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director
presented by Patricia Arquette & Ethan Hawke
Ana Lily Amirpour for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Released by Kino Lorber
The Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Jury included: Casey Affleck, Tricia Cooke, Cary Fukunaga, Amy Seimetz and Christine K. Walker

Special Jury Award
presented by Meryl Streep
Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum – for their ensemble work in Foxcatcher
Released by Sony Pictures Classics
The nominating jury recommending the award included Ann Hornaday, Mark Harris, Glenn Kenny, David Rooney, and Elizabeth Weitzman

euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant
presented by Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Chloé Zhao, director, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
The euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers’ ‘Live the Dream’ grant jury included: Susan Stover, Michelle Monaghan and Jennifer Westfeldt

The Gotham Award winners were chosen from a total of 24 films that received nominations in seven competitive categories.

About IFP
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at www.ifp.org.

About the Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP
The Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

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