Samuel L. Jackson to Serve as Master of Ceremonies for 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards
LOS ANGELES (January 17, 2005)—Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of IFP/Los Angeles, announced today that Samuel L. Jackson will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the 20th Independent Spirit Awards. Jackson who previously hosted the Awards Ceremony in 1996 and 1997, returns to host the Awards which celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year.

"I'm glad to be back for the third time as host of the Independent Spirit Awards, especially to commemorate their 20th Anniversary. The Spirit Awards have always been a cool, laid-back celebration and a great way of getting actors together who embrace the independent film genre." said Jackson.

"We are thrilled to have Sam return as host, particularly for the 20th Anniversary of the Independent Spirit Awards," said Diana Zahn-Storey, the producer of the event. "He is a fantastic actor, with an impressive, eclectic body of work which constantly surprises us. But above all he is truly the embodiment of cool and we are looking forward to him putting his personal stamp on this landmark year."

Respectfully labeled as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood, Jackson is an undisputed star. He made an indelible mark on American cinema with his portrayal of 'Jules', the philosophizing hitman, in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction for which he won his first Independent Spirit Award as well as Best Supporting Actor nominations for both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

His many film credits include Do the Right Thing, The Incredibles, Stars Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, XXX, Shaft, A Time to Kill (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination and an NAACP Image Award), Eve's Bayou (which he also produced and won his second Independent Spirit Award), Cavemen's Valentine, Jackie Brown (which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination); Unbreakable; Hard Eight (which earned him a Independent Spirit Award nomination.), The Red Violin, The Negotiator, Jungle Fever, Patriot Games, and Losing Isaiah. Jackson made movie history with his portrayal of a crack addict in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever when he was awarded the first and only Best Supporting Performance Award ever given by the judges at the Cannes Film Festival. Jackson's upcoming releases includes Les Mayfield's The Man, opposite Eugene Levy, in theaters April 2005, and Star Wars: Episode III in theaters in May, and Sony Classics, In My Country. He can currently be seen in Paramount Pictures' Coach Carter.

Selected from more than 190 submissions, the winners will be unveiled at the IFP Independent Spirit Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 26, 2005, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Honorary Chairs and Presenters will be announced shortly.

Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the eleventh consecutive year. The ceremony will air live on IFC (Independent Film Channel) at 5:00 pm EST on Saturday, February 26, 2005 and is edited for rebroadcast on Bravo the same evening at 10:00 pm EST/PST, following an exclusive one-hour red carpet show at 9:00 pm EST/PST.

This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors: IFC, Entertainment Weekly, DIRECTV, Bravo, and Netflix; and by Principal Sponsors: Turning Leaf Vineyards, Hewlett-Packard, Acura, America Online, Inc., and American Express. On 3 Productions will produce the Official 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards General Attendee Gift Bag and Presenter Gift Lounge. The Viceroy and Sheraton Delfina are the Official Host Hotels and WireImage is the Official Photographer of the IFP Independent Spirit Awards. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of IFP/Los Angeles.

The IFP Independent Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Independent Spirit Awards program has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film 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 Debut Performance, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, and Best Documentary.

Last year's IFP Independent Spirit Award winners included Lost in Translation, which won Best Feature, Best Director (Sofia Coppola), and Best Screenplay, as well as Best Male Lead (Bill Murray); Monster, which won Best First Feature and Best Female Lead (Charlize Theron); The Station Agent for the Best First Screenplay and the John Cassavetes Award; Declan Quinn for Best Cinematography; and Whale Rider for Best Foreign Film.

IFP/Los Angeles, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers and increasing the audience for independent film. The organization is a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and the independent spirit. IFP/LA provides its members with professional advice, educational programs, affordable camera and equipment rentals, and discounts to hundreds of industry-related businesses. IFP/LA also offers Filmmaker Labs, giving filmmakers the opportunity to develop their projects, and Project:Involve, a mentorship and job placement program that pairs filmmakers from culturally diverse communities with film industry professionals. IFP/Los Angeles produces the IFP Independent Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international independent cinema. For more information, visit