Saturday, February 27, 2016

31st Film Independent Spirit Awards winners announced

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, handed out top honors to Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation and Room at this afternoon’s 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards. Carol, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Krisha, The Look of Silence, Son of Sauland Tangerine also received awards at the ceremony, which was held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Spotlight received the Robert Altman Award. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. The ceremony aired live today on IFC and a rebroadcast will air later this evening; please check your local listings for times. Clips from the ceremony will be available on Film Independent’s YouTube channel after the show.

Over the past 31 years, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Ava DuVernay, Justin Simien, Ryan Coogler, Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

This year’s major category winners were Spotlight, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing; Beasts of No Nation, which won Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male; Room, which won Best Female Lead and Best First Screenplay; Carol, which won Best Cinematography; The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which won Best First Feature; Krisha, which won the John Cassavetes Award; The Look of Silence, which won Best Documentary; Son of Saul, which won Best International Film and Tangerine, which won Best Supporting Female.

The 9th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight received this award, along with casting directors Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee and ensemble cast members Michael Cyril Creighton, Billy Crudup, Paul Giulfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian D’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.

The 2016 Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship, which includes a cash grant of $10,000, was awarded to Zimbabwean filmmaker Sue-Ellen Chitunya. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in a Film Independent Artist Development program with the mission of diversity in mind. Chitunya, a participant in Project Involve, is currently in active development as a producer on her first narrative feature film, A Hard Place.

Complete list of the winners of the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards

Best Feature
Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Best Director
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best Screenplay
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best First Feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Marielle Heller
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue, Room (A24)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000)
Krisha (A24)
Writer/Director/Producer: Trey Edward Shults
Producers: Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet, Wilson Smith

Best Supporting Female
Mya Taylor,Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)

Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)

Best Female Lead
Brie Larson, Room (A24)

Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)

Robert Altman Award
Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Director: Tom McCarthy
Casting Directors: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee
Ensemble Cast: Billy Crudup, Michael Cyril Creighton, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

Best Cinematography
Ed Lachman, Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Best Editing
Tom McArdle, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best International Film
Son of Saul (Hungary – Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: László Nemes

Best Documentary
The Look of Silence (Drafthouse Films/Participant Media)
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

On January 9 the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

Mel Eslyn received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films. The annual award, in its 19th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget for the 8th year. Finalists were Darren Dean, Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith.

Felix Thompson, director of King Jack, received the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 22nd year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851. Finalists for the award were Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck directors of God Bless the Child and Chloé Zhao director of Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, director of Incorruptible, received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 21st year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi directors of Among the Believers and Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel directors of A Woman Like Me.

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