Spirit Awards Grants

Every year at the Spirit Awards, Film Independent gives out several Filmmaker Grants, with nominees and winners selected and voted on by committee.

The 2018 Spirit Awards Grants were presented at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. This year, The Bonnie Award sponsored by American Airlines and the Seattle Story Award funded by Visit Seattle were presented for the first time.

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 Bonnie Award recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines.

2018 Bonnie Award Winner

Chloé Zhao

PRODUCERS AWARD

The Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films. The recipients of this award become Film Independent Fellows and receive unrestricted cash grants of $25,000. Past winners include Gina Kwon (Me and You and Everyone We Know), Caroline Baron (Capote) and Effie Brown (Real Women Have Curves).

2018 Piaget Producers Award Winner

Summer Shelton

2017 Piaget Producers Award Winner

Jordana Mollick

2016 Piaget Producers Award Winner

Mel Eslyn

SEATTLE STORY AWARD

The Seattle Story Award is presented to a filmmaker who exhibits innovation, diversity and uniqueness of vision while having a history of transforming perspectives through rich stories. The award includes a $25,000 cash grant, sponsored by Visit Seattle, to create a short film inspired by Seattle’s deep textures and independent spirit. This film will premiere during the Spirit Awards broadcast.

2018 Seattle Story Award Winner

Matty Brown

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

The Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The recipients of this award become Film Independent Fellows and receive unrestricted cash grants of $25,000. Past winners include Marc Forster (Everything Put Together), Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha) and Larry Fessenden (Habit).

2018 Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award Winner

Justin Chon, Director, Gook

2017 Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award Winner

Anna Rose Holmer, Director, The Fits

2016 Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award Winner

Felix Thompson, Director, King Jack

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD

The Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention. The recipients of this award become Film Independent Fellows and receive unrestricted cash grants of $25,000. Past winners include Adele Horne (The Tailenders), Garrett Scott and Ian Olds (Occupation: Dreamland), Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski (Born into Brothels) and Errol Morris (Fast, Cheap & Out of Control).

2018 Jeep Truer Than Fiction Award Winner

Jonathan Olshefski, Quest

2017 Truer Than Fiction Award Winner

Nanfu Wang, Hooligan Sparrow

2016 Truer Than Fiction Award Winner

Elizabeth Chai Vaserhelyi, Incorruptible