Directors Close-Up Schedule

Description of weekly events for Directors Close-Up 2022

This year, our Directors Close-Up series is 100% devoted to the immensely talented nominees of the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Below you’ll find the official schedule for Directors Close-Up 2022 – don’t forget to check back often for event updates and newly added speakers and panelists.

And, before you start scrolling, you already got your DCU series pass, right?

Directors Close-Up series passes are on sale.

* Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all aspects of the Director’s Close-Up series (schedule, format, participants, etc.) are subject to change. Any in-person events that take place will have additional requirements (proof of vaccination, mandatory masking, etc.) for entry/attendance. If an in-person session is cancelled due to COVID-19, that session will be presented virtually.

Please note: Individuals who purchase passes after 3:00 pm PT on January 26 are not guaranteed live access to the first virtual event of the series.

Wednesday, January 26

The Spirit of Independence: Directors Roundtable

5:30 pm PT

Risk takers, mavericks, visionaries… Join us as the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Award Best Director and Best Picture nominees discuss their films, their careers and the ways in which they have been able to balance their artistic integrity with the demands of the marketplace. Through their experiences, we’ll explore the creative vision of a director.

Janicza Bravo (Zola)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter)
Lauren Hadaway (The Novice)
Mike Mills (C’mon C’mon)
Ninja Thyberg (Pleasure)

Moderated by Josh Welsh (President, Film Independent)


Wednesday, February 2

Small Screen, Big Picture: TV Creators

12:00 pm PT

The small screen has become the place where unique, independent voices are going to tell stories that don’t fit neatly into the constraints of a two-hour feature. This week’s session brings together creators of some of the most innovative, fascinating and thought-provoking stories nominated for the Best New Scripted Series Spirit Award.

Rafael Casal (Blindspotting)
Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting)
Sterlin Harjo (Reservation Dogs)
Peter Hoar (It’s a Sin)
Barry Jenkins (The Underground Railroad)

Moderated by Wendy Calhoun (Writer/Producer; Prodigal Son, Empire)


Wednesday, February 9

A Different Type of Narrative, Pt. 1 – Feature Documentaries

12:00 pm PT

This has been a stellar year for documentaries. From intriguing investigations into the beginnings of the COVID pandemic as it unfolded at the end of 2019, to a celebration of Black joy in the Summer of 1969, this year’s nominees are a great reflection of the incredible latitude presented to documentary filmmakers today. Join us as we discuss, with the directors behind some of the most intriguing documentaries of the year, the questions and challenges inherent to nonfiction film.

Robert Greene (Procession)
Jessica Kingdon (Ascension)
Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Flee)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Summer of Soul)
Nanfu Wang (In The Same Breath)

Moderated by Sandi Tan (Writer/Director, Shirkers)

A Different Type of Narrative, Pt. 2 – Documentary Series

5:30 pm PT

Although the documentary series format is not new, the impetus in which it has grown and evolved during the past few years has offered immense opportunity to delve into the lives of fascinating characters, and immerse ourselves with abandon in stories that poignantly capture our time. The Spirit Awards’ Best New Non-Scripted Series nominees join us to address the challenges and rewards of long-form storytelling, and the opportunities the small screen form offers filmmakers when bringing real life to our living rooms.

Yoni Brook (Philly D.A.)
Nick Cammilleri (The Lady and the Dale)
David Choe (The Choe Show)
Zackary Drucker (The Lady and the Dale)
Geeta Gandbhir (Black and Missing)
Soledad O’Brien (Black and Missing)
Ted Passon (Philly D.A.)
Paco Raterta (The Choe Show)
Ry Russo-Young (Nuclear Family)

Moderated by Eddie Schmidt (Executive Producer, Ugly Delicious; Producer, Twist of Faith)


Wednesday, February 16

On the Global Screen: International Filmmakers

11:00 am PT

Please note the earlier start time.

As the universal language that binds us together, cinema continues to remind us of its immense potential to build empathy, as it allows us to meet people and characters in distant lands, see life from their point of view, and find our shared humanity through their experiences. We’re thrilled to assemble the Best International Film nominees, hailing from Asia, Europe and Latin America for this very special session. With diverse storytelling traditions, production approaches and visual styles, they will provide insight into how filmmaking differs around the globe and examine the power of film to bring us closer together.

Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers)
Jonas Carpignano (A Chiara)
Tatiana Huezo (Prayers for the Stolen)
Juho Kuosmanen (Compartment No. 6)
Céline Sciamma (Petite Maman)
P S Vinothraj (Pebbles)

Moderated by Alan Poul (Executive Producer; Tokyo Vice, The Eddy)

Your First Time: The Director’s Debut

5:30 pm PT

Your first time on a film set can be a thrilling, exciting and/or terrifying experience. Even more so when you’re the director and everyone is looking at you for guidance. Yet, often seasoned directors express how glad they were they didn’t “know better” on their first film, as they found that’s what allowed their distinctive voices to come through without the restraints of inner judgement.

We’re joined by this year’s Best First Feature nominees, all of whom hit a home run their first time up to bat. The tales of their experiences will provide valuable insight on how to approach your first time behind the camera: what you’re expected to know, building and trusting your team, the battles worth fighting, and when (and why) it’s OK to ask questions.

Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. (Wild Indian)
Nana Mensah (Queen of Glory)
Shatara Michelle Ford (Test Pattern)
Nicole Riegel (Holler)
Roshan Sethi (7 Days)

Moderated by Shelby Stone (Executive Producer, The Chi)


Wednesday, February 23

The Spirit of Cassavetes: Making a Low Budget Movie

5:30 pm PT

As if it’s not hard enough to get an independent film made these days, making one for less than $500K requires an extra amount of ingenuity, passion and tenacity. What stories lend themselves to microbudgets and how can their impact be maximized up on the screen? This year’s John Cassavetes Award nominees have shown they know how to make every penny count – and they’re ready to discuss how they turned the challenges inherent to low-budget filmmaking into remarkable creative opportunities.

Clint Bentley (Jockey)
Talia Lugacy (This is Not a War Story)
Alexandre Rockwell (Sweet Thing)
Emma Seligman (Shiva Baby)
Dash Shaw (Cryptozoo)

Moderated by Isabel Sandoval (writer/director, Lingua Franca)


Wednesday, March 2

From Page to Screen: Writing and Directing

7:30 pm PT – The Landmark, West Los Angeles

It always starts with a good screenplay. You can make a bad film from a good script, but never a good film from a bad one. This year’s Spirit Award-nominated screenplays were written by a diverse group of storytellers that include writer/directors and screenwriters. Through their experiences, we explore the writing process from each point of view, as well as the collaboration between writer and director to successfully take a story from the page to the screen.

Nikole Beckwith (Together, Together)
Vanessa Block (Pig)
Janicza Bravo (Zola)
Sheldon D. Brown (Cicada)
Matt Fifer (Cicada)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter)
Jeremy O. Harris (Zola)
Michael Sarnoski (Pig)
Todd Stephens (Swan Song)

Moderated by Jane Anderson (writer; The Wife, Olive Kitteridge)


Wednesday, March 9

The Spirit of Robert Altman: Casting and Directing Mass

7:30 pm PT – The Landmark, West Los Angeles

A director, casting director and members of their cast offer insight on casting and the director-actor relationship—both in rehearsal and on set—and explore if the director’s job really is 95% complete once the right actors are in place.

Fran Kranz (writer/director, Mass)
Henry Russell Bergstein (casting director, Mass)
Allison Estrin (casting director, Mass)

Moderated by Darrien Gipson (SAGindie)


Wednesday, March 16

In Conversation with Guillermo del Toro

7:30 pm PT – The Landmark, West Los Angeles

An in-depth conversation with legendary director Guillermo del Toro.