Diverse Array Of Films Share Top Honors At Independent Spirit Awards
First Published: February 23, 2008 10:25 PM EST Credit: AP
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- "Juno," "The Savages," and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" shared top category honors at the 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, making the highly anticipated annual event into a celebration of the diverse films that captured the public’s attention this year. "Once," "Crazy Love," "Talk to Me," "The Lookout," "August Evening," and "I’m Not There" also received awards at the event.
The 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards were held Saturday, February 23, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. This annual event, which began as a small grassroots program, has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the film year. As part of an organizational greening initiative, Film Independent implemented numerous changes to produce an eco-friendly awards show this year. Working in accordance with the Environmental Media Association’s Green Seal Guidelines, the 2008 Film Independent's Spirit Awards will be presented with the EMA Green Seal Award at the 18th Annual Environmental Media Awards this fall.
This year’s major category winners were Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Juno, which won Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Ellen Page), and Best First Screenplay (Diablo Cody), The Savages, which won Best Male Lead (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Best Screenplay (Tamara Jenkins), Once which won Best Foreign Film and Miramax Films’ The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which won Best Director (Julian Schnabel), and Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), and The Lookout, which won Best First Feature. August Evening received the John Cassavetes Award for the Best Feature made for under $500,000. The film made its world premier at Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival and received the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature.
Neill Kopp, producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy, received the eleventh annual Piaget Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The winner of the Producers Award receives an unrestricted grant of $25,000 funded by Piaget
Ramin Bahrani, director of Chop Shop, won the fourteenth annual Acura Someone To Watch Award, a $25,000 unrestricted grant created to honor a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is funded by Acura.
Laura Dunn, director of The Unforeseen, won the twelfth annual IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention. The award is accompanied by a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by IFC.
Also given was the first-ever Robert Altman Award, presented to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, about the legendary musician Bob Dylan, received this inaugural award, along with casting director Laura Rosenthal, and ensemble cast members Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, David Cross, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Richard Gere, Bruce Greenwood, Heath Ledger, Julianne Moore, Ben Whishaw, and Michelle Williams.
Film Independent’s Spirit Awards ceremony is sponsored by IFC, Netflix, ELLE, AMC, and Piaget. Principal Sponsors are Acura, Pop Secret, Biolage Professional Hair Care, and Heineken. The official spirits of the Spirit Awards will be provided by Stolichnaya Vodka and G.H. Mumm Champagne. Casa Del Mar, Oceana Santa Monica, Sheraton Delfina, and Shutters on the Beach are the Official Host Hotels. Wire Image is the Official Photographer of Film Independent. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of Film Independent. ON 3 Productions is the Official Presenter Gift Lounge producer. Smartwater is the official water of the Spirit Awards.
The ceremony aired live on IFC (Independent Film Channel), beginning at 2:00 pm PST. An edited re-broadcast will air later this evening on AMC at 10:00 pm EST/PST.
Actor Rainn Wilson served as Master of Ceremonies. Javier Bardem served as Honorary Chair. Diana Zahn-Storey executive produced the 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards for the fourteenth year.
The following is a complete list of the winners:
Best Feature Fox Searchlight PicturesJuno Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
Best Director Miramax FilmsJulian Schnabel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Screenplay Fox Searchlight PicturesTamara Jenkins The Savages
Best First Feature Miramax FilmsThe Lookout Director: Scott FrankProducers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes
Best First Screenplay Fox Searchlight PicturesDiablo Cody Juno
John Cassavetes Award Maya Pictures(For the Best Feature made for under $500,000) Writer/Director: Chris EskaAugust Evening Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling
Best Supporting Female The Weinstein CompanyCate Blanchett I’m Not There
Best Supporting Male Focus FeaturesChiwetel Ejiofor Talk To Me
Best Female Lead Fox Searchlight PicturesEllen Page Juno
Best Male Lead Fox Searchlight PicturesPhilip Seymour Hoffman The Savages
Best Cinematography Miramax FilmsJanusz Kaminski The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Foreign Film Fox Searchlight PicturesOnce Director: John Carney
Best Documentary Magnolia PicturesCrazy Love Director: Dan Klores
2008 FILM INDEPENDENT’S SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS BY DISTRIBUTOR
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES 6MIRAMAX FILMS 3FOCUS FEATURES 1THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY 1MAGNOLIA PICTURES 1MAYA PICTURES 1
Joining host Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of Film Independent, were Master of Ceremonies Rainn Wilson, Honorary Co-Chair Javier Bardem.
Presenters and musical performances included: Alan Arkin, Jason Bateman, Kate Beckinsale, Maria Bello, Cate Blanchett, Zach Braff, Maggie Cheung, Patricia Clarkson, Bryan Cranston, Kimya Dawson, Matt Dillon, Aaron Eckhart, Shareeka Epps, Colin Firth, David Allan Grier, Jon Hamm, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Josh Hartnett, Dustin Hoffman, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Eva Mendes, Metal Skool, Ellen Page, Brad Pitt, Dennis Quaid, Keri Russell, Amy Ryan, Meg Ryan, Emmanuelle Seigner, Kerry Washington, John Waters, Forest Whitaker, Tom Wilkinson, the Whitest Kids You Know, and Steve Zahn.
Celebrity Guests and Nominees included: Shohreh Aghdashloo; Justine Bateman; Amber Benson; Wes Bentley; Steve Buscemi; Don Cheadle; Diablo Cody; Clifton Collins, Jr.; Bill Condon; Ileana Douglas; Eliza Dushku; Marcus Carl Franklin; Jeff Garlin; Bruce Greenwood; Vondie Curtis Hall; Todd Haynes; Philip Seymour Hoffman; Dennis Hopper; Tamara Jenkins; Angelina Jolie; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Anna Kendrick; Irrfan Khan; Ricki Lake; Frank Langella; Kasi Lemmons; Sienna Miller; Jada Pinkett-Smith; Parker Posey; Bill Pullman; Elizabeth Reaser; Jason Reitman; Andre Royo; JK Simmons; Molly Sims; Fisher Stevens; Olivia Thirby; Marisa Tomei; Aisha Tyler; Tang Wei; Jennifer Westfeldt; Lynn Whitfield; Mike White; and many, many more…
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT’S SPIRIT AWARDS
Film Independent’s Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.
Selected from more than 250 submissions, awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, and Best Documentary.
The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees apply the following guidelines in making its selections:
1. Uniqueness of vision2. Original, provocative subject matter3. Economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation)4. Percentage of financing from independent sources
Eligible films must be at least 70 minutes long, and the cost of the completed film, including post-production, must be under $20 million. Films must have been shown in a commercial theater for at least one week between January 1 and December 31, 2007 or shown at one of the following festivals in 2007: Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.
After the committees select the nominees, the members of Film Independent, as well as the members of IFP, cast the final votes. Voters attend nominee screenings and view nominated films through Netflix before selecting the winners.
This year’s nominees for Best Feature were The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I’m Not There, Juno, A Mighty Heart, and Paranoid Park. Best First Feature nominees were 2 Days in Paris, Great World of Sound, The Lookout, Rocket Science, and Vanaja
Last year’s Spirit Award winners included Little Miss Sunshine, which won Best Feature, Best Director (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Best Supporting Male (Alan Arkin), and Best First Screenplay (Michael Arndt); Half Nelson for Best Male Lead (Ryan Gosling) and Best Female Lead (Shareeka Epps); Thank You For Smoking for Best Screenplay (Jason Reitman); and Friends With Money for Best Supporting Female (Frances McDormand).
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
Film Independent is a non-profit membership organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds the audience for their projects, and works to
diversify the film industry. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, film industry leader, or a film lover.
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent also offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent’s mentorship and job placement program, Project:Involve, pairs emerging culturally-diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.
Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema, and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and dare to challenge the status quo.
For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org
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