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Film Independent Spirit Awards announced

Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards this morning. Anthony Mackie and Kate Beckinsale served as presenters. Nominees for Best Feature include 50/50, Beginners, Drive, Take Shelter, The Descendants and The Artist.
Margin Call was selected to receive the annual Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.
“The Film Independent Spirit Awards recognize the finest artistic achievements across the broad spectrum of independent filmmaking—from emerging talent working on a shoestring budget to established auteurs,” said Film Independent Senior Director Sean Mc Manus. “The 2012 nominees tell their stories in such an authentic way and reflect the inclusive nature of the independent filmmaking community. We are delighted to support them and expand the audience for their work.”
“The Spirit Awards focuses primarily on American independents, so it was an honor to serve alongside an esteemed and dedicated group of indie film colleagues to determine many of the 2012 nominees,” said producer and Chair of the American Narrative Feature Nominating Committee Gail Mutrux. “It was an invigorating process—experiencing first-hand the vast array of storytelling that defines independent film, and discovering many new talents whose films inspired us.”
Winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2012. The 27th annual awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, and the premiere broadcast will air later that evening at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on IFC. Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the awards ceremony and announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.
The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 277 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost & individual compensation), and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee was comprised of the following committees:
The American Narrative Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Gail Mutrux and included: film critic/journalist Robert Abele; writer Dustin Lance Black; producers Stuart Cornfeld, Barry Mendel; actors Dale Dickey, André Royo, Souléymane Sy Savané; cinematographers Paula Huidobro, Stephen Goldblatt; writer/directors Courtney Hunt, Robert D. Siegel; writer/director/producer Malcolm D. Lee; director Floria Sigismondi; casting director Margery Simkin; and writer Dan Waters.
The Documentary Feature Nominating Committee was chaired by CEO Landmark Theatres Ted Mundorff and included: producer Lesley Chilcott; KCET’s Juan Devis; director Laura Gabbert; author/filmmaker Nelson George; filmmaker John Maringouin; San Francisco Film Society’s Director of Programming Rachel Rosen; and Los Angeles Times and NPR’s “Morning Edition” film critic Kenneth Turan.
The International Feature Nominating Committee was chaired by filmmaker Mary Sweeney and included: actors Shohreh Aghdashloo, Demián Bichir; Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Director of Digital Strategy Eugene Hernandez; director Leon Ichaso; writer/director Larry Karaszewski; producer/director Hossein Keshavarz; cinematographer Ellen Kuras; composer Cliff Martinez; and producer Frida Torresblanco.
The Piaget Producers Award Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Brian Udovich and included: producers Anish Savjani, Lynette Howell and Amy Kaufman.
The Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Alison Dickey and included: filmmaker Jay Duplass; Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust; Denver Post film critic Lisa Kennedy; and writer/director Daniel Stamm.
The Truer Than Fiction Award Nominating Committee was chaired by film critic Wesley Morris and included: filmmakers Ava DuVernay, Laura Poitras; filmmaker/cinematographer PJ Raval; and programmer Laura Thielen.
As the first event to exclusively honor independent film, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors ELLE, Piaget and Jamesonâ Irish Whiskey. WireImage is the Official Photographer and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.
For more information on submission guidelines, voting, media and publicist credentials, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit

Now in its 27th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who 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.
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 International Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, Someone to Watch Award, Truer Than Fiction Award and Jameson FIND Your Audience Award.
Film Independent is a non-profit arts 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 an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.
Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.
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’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project:Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.
For more information or to become a member, visit


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)
50/50 Producers: Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin, Seth Rogen
Beginners Producers: Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Jay Van Hoy
Drive Producers: Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel
Take Shelter Producers: Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin
The Artist Producer: Thomas Langmann
The Descendants Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Michel Hazanavicius The Artist
Mike Mills Beginners
Jeff Nichols Take Shelter
Alexander Payne The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn Drive

Joseph Cedar Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius The Artist
Tom McCarthy Win Win
Mike Mills Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash The Descendants

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Another Earth Director: Mike Cahill
Producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker
In the Family Director: Patrick Wang
Producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang
Margin Call Director: J.C. Chandor
Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto
Martha Marcy May Marlene Director: Sean Durkin
Producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond
Natural Selection Director: Robbie Pickering
Producers: Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen

Mike Cahill, Brit Marling Another Earth
J.C. Chandor Margin Call
Patrick deWitt Terri
Phil Johnston Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser 50/50

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 listed
Bellflower Writer/Director: Evan Glodell
Producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw
Circumstance Writer/Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Producers: Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee
Hello Lonesome Writer/Director/Producer: Adam Reid

Pariah Writer/Director: Dee Rees
Producer: Nekisa Cooper
The Dynamiter Writer: Brad Inglesby
Director: Matthew Gordon
Producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

Lauren Ambrose Think of Me
Rachael Harris Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams My Week with Marilyn

Demián Bichir A Better Life
Jean Dujardin The Artist
Ryan Gosling Drive
Woody Harrelson Rampart
Michael Shannon Take Shelter

Jessica Chastain Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston 50/50
Janet McTeer Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley The Descendants
Albert Brooks Drive
John Hawkes Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer Beginners
John C. Reilly Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll Midnight in Paris
Joel Hodge Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke The Off Hours
Darius Khondji Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Schiffman The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron The Dynamiter

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
An African Election Director/Producer: Jarreth Merz
Bill Cunningham New York Director: Richard Press
Producer: Philip Gefter
The Interrupters Director/Producer: Steve James
Producer: Alex Kotlowitz
The Redemption of General Butt Naked Director/Producers: Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
We Were Here Director/Producer: David Weissman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
A Separation
(Iran) Director: Asghar Farhadi
(Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany) Director: Lars von Trier
(UK) Director: Steve McQueen
The Kid With a Bike
(Belgium/France/Italy) Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
(UK) Director: Paddy Considine

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 15th annual Piaget 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 funded by Piaget.
Chad Burris Mosquita y Mari
Sophia Lin Take Shelter
Josh Mond Martha Marcy May Marlene

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 18th 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.
Simon Arthur Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson Without
Nicholas Ozeki Mamitas

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 17th 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.
Heather Courtney Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis Hell and Back Again
Alma Har’el Bombay Beach

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Margin Call Director: J.C. Chandor
Casting Director: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey
Ensemble Cast: Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci


Fox Searchlight Another Earth, Cedar Rapids, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame, The Descendants, Win Win 14
Sony Pictures Classics A Separation, Footnote, Midnight in Paris, Take Shelter 9
Focus Features Beginners, Pariah 6
The Weinstein Company My Week with Marilyn, The Artist 6
FilmDistrict Drive 4
Roadside Attractions Albert Nobbs, Circumstance, Margin Call 4
Summit Entertainment 50/50, A Better Life 4
The Cinema Guild Natural Selection, The Interrupters 3
Oscilloscope Laboratories Bellflower 2
No Distributor The Dynamiter 2
ATO Pictures Terri 1
Bodega Studios Hello Lonesome 1
Focus World Bombay Beach 1
International Film Circuit Where Soldiers Come From 1
Magnolia Pictures Melancholia 1
Millenium Entertainment Rampart 1
Motion Film Group Gun Hill Road 1
New Video Hell and Back Again 1
Red Flag Releasing We Were Here 1
Strand Releasing Tyrannosaur 1
Sundance Selects The Kid With a Bike 1
Zeitgeist Films Bill Cunningham New York 1
No Distributor An African Election 1
No Distributor In the Family 1
No Distributor Mamitas 1
No Distributor Mosquito y Mari 1
No Distributor The Off Hours 1
No Distributor The Redemption of General Butt Naked 1
No Distributor Silver Tongues 1
No Distributor Think of Me 1


Take Shelter 5
The Artist 5
Beginners 4
Drive 4
The Descendants 4
Martha Marcy May Marlene 4
50/50 3
Another Earth 2
Bellflower 2
Cedar Rapids 2
Margin Call 2
Midnight in Paris 2
Natural Selection 2
Pariah 2
The Dynamiter 2
A Better Life 1
A Separation 1
Albert Nobbs 1
An African Election 1
Bill Cunningham New York 1
Bombay Beach 1
Circumstance 1
Footnote 1
Gun Hill Road 1
Hell and Back Again 1
Hello Lonesome 1
In the Family 1
Mamitas 1
Melancholia 1
Mosquito y Mari 1
My Week with Marilyn 1
Rampart 1
The Redemption of General Butt Naked 1
Shame 1
Silver Tongues 1
Terri 1
The Interrupters 1
The Kid With a Bike 1
The Off Hours 1
Think of Me 1
Tyrannosaur 1
We Were Here 1
Where Soldiers Come From 1
Win Win 1

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