Nominations Announced for 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards


Nominees for the Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award,

the DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, and the

Bravo/American Express Producers Award also announced

LOS ANGELES (November 30, 2004)—Nominations for the 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning, including nominations for Best Feature, which are Baadasssss!, Kinsey, Maria Full of Grace, Primer, and Sideways. Also announced were the finalists for the Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award, the DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award and the Bravo/American Express Producers Award. Dennis Quaid and Selma Blair served as nomination presenters at the event.

"Serving on the Nominating Committee is an incredible privilege. You get to discuss the entire spectrum of independent filmmaking with 12 of our country's finest filmmakers. Watching all of the submitted films gives you an encyclopedic knowledge of the current state of independent cinema. This year, there was a wonderful leap in quality amongst ultra-low budget indies," said committee chair Jeff Kleeman.

Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of IFP/Los Angeles added, "Over the last 20 years, the Spirit Awards have consistently celebrated the most talented artists—known and unknown—working in independent film. We've honored many filmmakers and artists at the beginning of their careers, and this year is no different. Six of the nominated films haven't even received theatrical distribution, and several more have had only the most-narrow distribution. We're proud to recognize the outstanding work done by independent veterans alongside the exciting new voices in film."

This year the Spirit Awards Nominating Committee chose to give a Special Distinction Award to the ensemble cast of Mean Creek: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, and Carly Schroeder. In the words of the Nominating Committee, "These young actors turned in performances so uniformly unselfish, and so intricately in tune with one another, that it became impossible to single any one of them out from their extraordinary achievement together. Their work is of such high quality that it moves beyond craft to achieve that mysterious truth and beauty that constitutes the finest acting."

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 Master of Ceremonies, 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.

Films nominated for the IFP Independent Spirit Awards were selected based on the following criteria:

• Original, provocative subject matter;

• Uniqueness of vision;

• Economy of means with particular attention paid to total budget and individual compensation;

• Percentage of independent financing.

This year's Chair of the Spirit Awards Nominating Committees (composed of three subcommittees) was producer Jeff Kleeman. The 13-person American Narrative Nominating Committee included IFP/Los Angeles Executive Director Dawn Hudson; actors Patricia Clarkson, Zooey Deschanel, and Ron Livingston; Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan; producers Effie Brown and Bingham Ray; directors Tony Bui, Mark Polish, and Alan Rudolph; casting director Aisha Coley; and cinematographer Nancy Schreiber. The five-person Documentary Feature Nominating Committee included director Fenton Bailey, producer Sid Ganis, and film critics Ella Taylor and Eugene Hernandez. The Foreign Feature Nominating Committee included producer Gail Mutrux; writer/directors Miguel Arteta and Vondie Curtis Hall; and exhibitor Greg Laemmle. Winners for the Independent Spirit Awards are voted on by the IFP national membership, a nationwide base of 9,000 members.

In order to be eligible for consideration, submitted films must have shown at a commercial theater during the 2004 calendar year or have played at one of the following seven film festivals: the Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Seattle, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.

Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award

The 11th annual Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $20,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Turning Leaf Vineyards. The Finalists are:

• Jem Cohen, director of Chain

• Bryan Poyser, director of Dear Pillow

• Jennifer Reeves, director of The Time We Killed

Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee: Ryan Werner (chair), Cheryl Dunye, Scott Foundas, Helen Gramates, Maud Nadler

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award

The 9th annual DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention. The award includes a $20,000 unrestricted grant, funded by DIRECTV and IFC. The Finalists are:

• Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman for Born Into Brothels

• Shola Lynch for Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed

• Jehane Noujaim for Control Room

• Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini for Farmingville

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award Nominating Committee: Mike Maggiore (Chair), Nathan Lee, Megan Mylan, Chuleenan Svetvillas, Diane Weyermann

Bravo/American Express Producers Award

The 8th annual Bravo/American Express 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 $20,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Bravo and American Express. The Finalists are:

• Gina Kwon, producer of The Good Girl and Me and You and Everyone We Know

• Danielle Renfrew, producer of November and Groove

• Sean C. Covel and Chris Wyatt, producers of Napoleon Dynamite and Think Tank

Bravo/American Express Producers Award Nominating Committee: Scott Macaulay (chair), Anthony Bregman, Kathryn Galan, Michelle Satter, Janet Yang

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 membership organization for independent filmmakers, champions the cause of independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. 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