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35TH FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
Broadcast Live Exclusively on IFC
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET
American Airlines and IFC return as Premier Sponsors, joined by Mazda
LOS ANGELES (November 21, 2019) – This morning, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference with actors Zazie Beetz (Atlanta, Joker, Deadpool 2) and Natasha Lyonne (Ad Astra, Orange Is the New Black, Russian Doll) presenting the nominations, hosted by The LINE LA. Nominees for Best Feature included A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story and Uncut Gems. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Santa Monica beach-adjacent award show.
Marriage Story was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman, who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.
“The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrate the best films of the year – films characterized by creative independence and original, provocative subject matter, as well as diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “At a time when the film business is undergoing such change and challenges, it’s important to loudly celebrate the work itself – the films! – and to recognize 2019 as a year of bold, audacious and accomplished filmmaking. That’s what the Spirit Awards are all about.”
Welsh added, “The Spirit Awards are a unique awards show in that the winners are chosen by the members of Film Independent, an open access organization made up of film lovers and filmmakers alike. To everyone who cares about film and wants to help shine a bright light on the great work being made today, I urge you to join Film Independent by December 5 and become part of our voting body.”
Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.
The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from over 430 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.
Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 4, 2020.
Film Independent is proud to announce the return of its collaboration with American Airlines, who joins for the sixth year and returns to fund the Bonnie Award, recognizing a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant. And, we welcome this year’s Official Automotive Partner, Mazda.
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Stephanie Terifay Bédiée, Director of Corporate Partnerships, at email@example.com. To learn more about attending the Spirit Awards and supporting Film Independent, please contact Jennifer Murby, Director of Individual Giving, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on submission guidelines, voting, the history of the Spirit Awards and more, please visit spiritawards.com.
Want to vote?
Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners of the Spirit Awards. Members can attend the free Nominee Screening Series in Los Angeles, and receive DVD screeners of select nominees by mail and digital screeners online. Members must be current by December 5, 2019 to receive full voting benefits. Join today at filmindependent.org/join.
2020 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS
BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
A Hidden Life
Producers: Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter
Producers: Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong
Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng
Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman
Producers: Eli Bush, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Scott Rudin
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman
Director/Producer: Michael Angelo Covino
Producers: Noah Lang, Kyle Marvin
Director: Kent Jones
Producers: Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Caroline Kaplan, Oren Moverman
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Director/Producer: Joe Talbot
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Producer: Ilan Goldman
See You Yesterday
Director: Stefon Bristol
Producer: Spike Lee
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
Writer/Director/Producer: Phillip Youmans
Producers: Ojo Akinlana, Jakob Johnson, Karen Kaia Livers, Mose Mayer, Wendell Pierce, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans
Writer/Director: Tom Quinn
Producers: Joshua Blum, Alexandra Byer, Craig Shilowich, Matthew Thurm
Give Me Liberty
Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern
Writer/Director/Producer: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Writer: Zora Howard
Producer: Darren Dean, Joy Ganes
Wild Nights With Emily
Writer/Director/Producer: Madeleine Olnek
Producers: Anna Margarita Albelo, Casper Andreas, Max Rifkind-Barron
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Tarell Alvin McCraney
High Flying Bird
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol
See You Yesterday
Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen
Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Blow the Man Down
Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe
James Montague, Craig W. Sanger
The Vast of Night
The Third Wife
The Third Wife
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie
Tyler L. Cook
Sword of Trust
Give Me Liberty
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Mary Kay Place
BEST MALE LEAD
Give Me Liberty
Kelvin Harrison Jr.
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Lauren “Lolo” Spencer
Give Me Liberty
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast
Director: Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson,
Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever
BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert
Director/Producer: Todd Douglas Miller
Producers: Evan Krauss, Thomas Baxley Petersen
Director: Edward Watts
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab
Director: Tamara Kotevska
Director/Producer: Ljubo Stefanov
Producer: Atanas Georgiev
Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Director/Producer: Gabrielle Brady
Producers: Gizem Acarla, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Alexander Wadouh
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
Director: Karim Aïnouz
Director: Ladj Ly
Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Director: Céline Sciamma
Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.
Director: Joanna Hogg
BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the third Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.
PRODUCERS AWARD – The 23rd annual 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 $25,000 unrestricted grant.
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – Presented by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, the 26th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Rashaad Ernesto Green
Director of Premature
Director of The Third Wife
Director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 25th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Director of Black Mother
Director of 17 Blocks
Director of Jaddoland
Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside
Director of América
ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Now in its 35th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors American Airlines, IFC and Mazda. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the Official Spirit. FIJI Water is the Official Water. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. Town & Country Event Rentals is the Exclusive Rental Company.
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
For over 38 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit’s mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.
In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs, and signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Weekly Education events and workshops equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. International programs include Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program that provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. Year-round screening series Film Independent Presents delivers monthly, unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond.
While working to make the entertainment industry more inclusive, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists. Film lovers, industry professionals and anyone passionate about visual storytelling can become a Member at filmindependent.org, and find @FilmIndependent across social platforms.
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47 NOMINATED FILMS