Thursday, December 1, 2011

2012 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced


$115,000 in grants to be awarded to filmmakers

LOS ANGELES (November 29, 2011) – 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 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 Jameson 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

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