Film Independent Spirit Awards Announces 2022 Emerging Filmmaker Awards Grant Winners

Press Contact: Phillip Nakov, Film Independent

Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby

Gladys Santos, Ginsberg/Libby


$75,000 in grants generously awarded

LOS ANGELES (February 10, 2022) – Film Independent has named the winners of three unrestricted $25,000 Spirit Awards cash grants; $75,000 total. The three Grant recipients from 2021 – Ekwa Msangi, Gerry Kim and Elegance Bratton – made the announcement this morning in an online video. Watch here: (case sensitive).

Alex Camilleri (Luzzu) received the Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 28th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Michael Sarnoski (Pig) and Gillian Wallace Horvat (I Blame Society).

Lizzie Shapiro received the 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 25th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Brad Becker-Parton and Pin-Chun Liu.

Jessica Beshir (Faya Dayi) received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award is in its 27th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Angelo Madsen Minax (North By Current) and Debbie Lum (Try Harder!).

“We are truly thrilled to announce our 2022 Emerging Filmmaker Grant recipients,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “With the announcement of these three new Grant recipients, we celebrate some of the most talented emerging writers, producers and directors working today in fiction and non-fiction. We can’t wait to see what they do next!”

Winners for the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be revealed in-person on March 6th in Santa Monica and will air exclusively on IFC and stream on AMC+ at 5:00 pm PT. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Click here to see the full list of this year’s nominees.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are supported by Premier Sponsor IFC; the Official Spirit, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey; the Official Non-Alcoholic Spirit, Seedlip; Official Water, FIJI Water and Official Beer, Stella Artois. Getty Images is the Official Photographer.

To learn more about attending the Spirit Awards and supporting Film Independent’s mission and programs, contact Jennifer Murby at

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Stephanie Terifay at

To learn more about the Spirit Awards eligibility rules and regulations please visit

The winners of the Film Independent Spirit Awards are voted on by Film Independent Members. Membership is open to the public. For more information or to become a Member, visit


For over 40 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit organization’s core 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. 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. Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program produced in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. And year-round screening series Film Independent Presents delivers monthly, unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond.


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AMC+ is the company’s new premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from across AMC Networks’ entertainment networks and a number of the company’s targeted streaming services, including Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as Killing Eve, Riviera, Creepshow, Better Call Saul and Walking Dead. Currently available to Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV channels, Roku Channels, Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV, DISH and Sling TV.