2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

Sarah Silverman returns as host airing live on February 24.
Nominations for the 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards were announced this morning, including nominations for Best Feature, which are American Gun; The Dead Girl; Half Nelson; Little Miss Sunshine; and Pan's Labyrinth. Also announced were the finalists for the IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award, the Axium Truer Than Fiction Award, and the Axium Producers Award. Felicity Huffman and Don Cheadle served as nomination presenters at the event.

The 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards ceremony airs live on Saturday, February 24, beginning at 5:00 pm EST on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Live red carpet footage will precede the show starting at 4:30 pm EST on WE tv, and an edited re-broadcast of the ceremony will air later that evening on AMC at 10:00 pm EST/PST.

Film Independent also announced that a Special Distinction Award will be given to David Lynch and Laura Dern for their collaborative work. The award will be presented to Lynch and Dern at the Spirit Awards ceremony on February 24. "The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee has awarded a Special Distinction Award to David Lynch and Laura Dern in recognition of their unique and stunning collaborative work - in the mesmerizing Inland Empire as well as the influential independent classics Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. Lynch's masterful direction and Dern's indelible performances in these visionary films represent to the committee the essence of artistic achievement and independent spirit," said the 2007 Nominating Committee.

Selected from more than 250 submissions, this year's winners will be unveiled at Film Independent's Spirit Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 24, 2007, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. As previously announced, Sarah Silverman will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the second year in a row. Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the thirteenth consecutive year. The Honorary Chairs and Presenters will be announced shortly.

This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, Axium International, and ELLE, as well as Principal Sponsors Acura and Pop Secret®. Casa Del Mar, The Viceroy, 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.

"We are proud to spotlight this year's eclectic mix of filmmakers and artists who are unafraid to take risks," said Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of Film Independent. "The foundation of independent film has always been to push the envelope both in subject matter and filmmaking, and this year is no exception."

"American independent cinema has never been as strange or as wonderful as in 2006," said Howard Rodman, chair of the American Narrative Feature Nominating Committee. "There were wildly impressive first features; stunning films made on ultra-low budgets; and an amazing array of performances across the board. This made the choosing quite difficult, even as it made the viewing pleasurable indeed."

"The committee had a large group of films to consider and we took great pleasure in debating the relative merits of the various films," said Greg Laemmle, chair of the Documentary Feature Nominating Committee. "From our review, it is clear that independent filmmakers around the world are pushing the non-fiction feature in new and interesting directions. The nominated films, varied in tone and style, represent the breadth of documentary filmmaking."

Added Vondie Curtis Hall, chair of the Foreign Feature Nominating Committee, "2006 has proven to be a very exciting year for foreign independent film. Our committee had the privilege of experiencing a diverse collection of voices from around the world. Through these films, we discovered that the everyday struggle of a single character could reveal our shared humanity and the soul of an entire country could be captured through one filmmaker's eyes. We acknowledge the great passion and commitment that went into the making of these unique films. Our only regret is that we could not include more in our final selection. Our respect and support goes to all of the filmmakers, along with our appreciation for their courage and vision."

Film Independent also announced the first annual Spirit Awards Short Film Contest in partnership with IFC Media Lab. Film Independent and IFC Media Lab invite participants to make a short film - of up to 90 seconds in length - on the theme "What Does Independence Mean to You?" The winning film will air live on IFC during the 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards broadcast.

Filmmakers interested in entering the Spirit Awards Short Film Contest can upload their film from November 28, 2006 - January 19, 2007 to ifc.com/medialab as part of a special feature on IFC's popular Media Lab initiative. Media Lab offers any filmmaker, from aspiring professionals to amateurs who enjoy experimenting with the video medium, a destination for posting their independent films online. Registered visitors to IFC's web site will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite Spirit Awards Short Film Contest entry from January 26 - February 16, 2007.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee applies the following guidelines in making its selections:
1. Uniqueness of vision
2. Original, provocative subject matter
3. Economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation)
4. Percentage of financing from independent sources

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee is composed of three subcommittees: American Narrative, Foreign Film, and Documentary Film. The fifteen-person American Narrative Nominating Committee included Committee Chair, writer Howard Rodman; Film Independent Executive Director, Dawn Hudson; actors Dulé Hill, Loretta Devine, and André Royo; film critic Kenneth Turan; producers Alison Dickey and Janet Yang; writer/producer Larry Gross; writer/directors Jane Anderson and Mike White; casting director Aisha Coley; author John Ridley; cinematographer Declan Quinn; and production and development executive Shelby Stone.

The seven-person Documentary Feature Nominating Committee included Committee Chair, exhibitor Greg Laemmle; director/producers St. Clair Bourne and Margaret Brown; director/editor Mark Becker; producer Jeffrey Levy-Hinte; Warner Independent Pictures' Executive Vice President of Marketing, Laura Kim; and Indiewire.com editor Eugene Hernandez.

The seven-person Foreign Feature Nominating Committee included Committee Chair, writer/director Vondie Curtis Hall, and writer/director Tony Bui; actress Shohreh Aghdashloo; director/musician Sergio Arau; filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad; Screen International US Editor, Mike Goodridge; and film critic Ella Taylor.

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, 2006 or shown at one of the following festivals in 2006: 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 Spirit Awards winners. Membership in Film Independent is open to anyone passionate about film and begins at $95 per year. Those who join before December 15, 2006 will be eligible to vote to determine the winners for the 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards.

In an effort to provide greater access to the nominated films for voting members of Film Independent and IFP, Netflix is not only hosting the awards but also providing a limited access, unique sitelet containing all nominated films for the voters.

Using a free 3 Month Netflix subscription, Film Independent and IFP members will be able to add nominated films to their Queue and begin receiving DVDs by mail according to the Netflix model. Voting Members will also have access to the entire Netflix catalog of over 65,000 titles.


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, Film Independent's Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.

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.

Last year's Film Independent's Spirit Award winners included Brokeback Mountain, which won Best Feature and Best Director (Ang Lee), Capote for Best Screenplay and Best Male Lead (Philip Seymour Hoffman); Crash for Best First Feature and Best Supporting Male (Matt Dillon); Transamerica for Best Female Lead (Felicity Huffman) and Best First Screenplay; and Junebug for Best Supporting Female (Amy Adams).


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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IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award

The 13th annual IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant, funded by IFC and Acura. The Finalists are:

So Yong Kim, director of In Between Days
Julia Loktev, director of Day Night Day Night
Richard Wong, director of Colma: The Musical

Axium Truer Than Fiction Award

The 11th annual Axium Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention. The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant funded by Axium International. The Finalists are:

Adele Horn for The Tailenders
Eric Daniel Metzgar for The Chances of the World Changing
AJ Schnack for Kurt Cobain About A Son

Axium Producers Award

The 10th annual Axium Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Axium International. The Finalists are:

Julie Lynn, producer of Nine Lives and 10 Items or Less
Alex Orlovsky and Jamie Patricof, producers of Half Nelson and Point & Shoot
Howard Gertler and Tim Perell, producers of Shortbus and Pizza


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
* Executive Producers are not listed.

American Gun
Producer: Ted Kroeber

The Dead Girl
Producers: Tom Rosenberg, Henry Winterstern, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Eric Karten, Kevin Turen

Half Nelson
Producers: Jamie Patricof, Alex Orlovsky, Lynette Howell, Anna Boden, Rosanne Korenberg

Little Miss Sunshine
Producers: Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa

"Pan's Labyrinth"
Producers: Bertha Navarro, Alfonso Cuarón, Frida Torresblanco, Alvaro Augustin, Guillermo Del Toro


Robert Altman
A Prairie Home Companion

Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Little Miss Sunshine

Ryan Fleck
Half Nelson

Karen Moncrieff
The Dead Girl

Steven Soderbergh

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

Day Night Day Night
Director: Julia Loktev
Producers: Julia Loktev, Melanie Judd, Jessica Levin

Man Push Cart
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Producers: Ramin Bahrani, Pradip Ghosh,
Bedford T. Bentley III

The Motel
Director: Michael Kang
Producers: Matthew Greenfield, Miguel Arteta,
Gina Kwon, Karin Chien

Sweet Land
Director: Ali Selim
Producers: Alan Cumming, James Bigham, Ali Selim

Wristcutters: A Love Story
Director: Goran Dukic
Producers: Adam Sherman, Chris Coen, Tatiana Kelly,
Mikal P. Lazarev

(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer) * Executive Producers are not listed.

Director: Mike Akel
Producers: Mike Akel, Angela Alvarez, Graham Davidson, Chris Mass
Writers: Chris Mass & Mike Akel

Four Eyed Monsters
Writer/Director/Producers: Arin Crumley & Susan Buice

Old Joy
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Producers: Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Anish Savjani,
Neil Kopp
Writers: Jon Raymond & Kelly Reichardt

Writer/Directors: Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland
Producer: Anne Clements

Twelve and Holding
Director: Michael Cuesta
Producers: Leslie Urdang, Michael Cuesta, Brian Bell, Jenny Schweitzer
Writer: Anthony S. Cipriano


Neil Burger
The Illusionist

Nicole Holofcener
Friends with Money

Ron Nyswaner
The Painted Veil

Jason Reitman
Thank You For Smoking

Jeff Stanzler
Sorry, Haters


Michael Arndt
Little Miss Sunshine

Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Half Nelson

Goran Dukic
Wristcutters: A Love Story

Dito Montiel
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Gabrielle Zevin
Conversations with Other Women


Shareeka Epps
Half Nelson

Catherine O'Hara
For Your Consideration

Elizabeth Reaser
Sweet Land

Michelle Williams
Land of Plenty

Robin Wright Penn
Sorry, Haters


Aaron Eckhart
Thank You For Smoking

Ryan Gosling
Half Nelson

Edward Norton
The Painted Veil

Ahmad Razvi
Man Push Cart

Forest Whitaker
American Gun


Melonie Diaz
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Marcia Gay Harden
American Gun

Mary Beth Hurt
The Dead Girl

Frances McDormand
Friends with Money

Amber Tamblyn
Stephanie Daley


Alan Arkin
Little Miss Sunshine

Raymond J. Barry
Steel City

Daniel Craig

Paul Dano
Little Miss Sunshine

Channing Tatum
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints


Arin Crumley
Four Eyed Monsters

Anthony Dod Mantle
Brothers of the Head

Guillermo Navarro
Pan's Labyrinth

Aaron Platt
Wild Tigers I Have Known

Michael Simmonds
Man Push Cart

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

A Lion in the House
Directors: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert

My Country, My Country
Director: Laura Poitras

The Road to Guantanamo
Directors: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross

The Trials of Darryl Hunt
Directors: Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern

You're Gonna Miss Me
Director: Keven McAlester

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

12:08 East of Bucharest
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
Director: Auraeus Solito

Chronicle of an Escape
Director: Israel Adrián Caetano

Days of Glory
Director: Rachid Bouchareb

The Lives of Others
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck


David Lynch, Laura Dern
In recognition of their unique and stunning collaborative work in the mesmerizing Inland Empire as well as the influential independent classics Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.

Sources: Independent Film Channel

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