Independent Spirit Nominations

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Nominees for the Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award,
the DIRECTV / IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, Producers Award, and Special Distinction Award also announced

LOS ANGELES (December 3, 2003) – Nominations for the 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning including Best Feature nominees: American Splendor, In America, Lost in Translation, Raising Victor Vargas, and Shattered Glass. Also announced were the finalists for the Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award, the DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, and the Producers Award. Dylan McDermott and Daryl Hannah served as nomination presenters at the event.

The 2004 Spirit Awards Nominating Committee has also awarded a Special Distinction Award to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 21 Grams for its uniqueness of vision, bold conception and direction, the honesty of its screenwriting, bravery of its performances, and achievement on every level of filmmaking. Due to Spirit Awards guidelines, the film was not eligible for individual nominations because its budget exceeded the committee’s interpretation of IFP’s criteria of “economy of means.”

“With more submissions and less time then ever before, the Nominating Committee watched and discussed over 190 films in six weeks — an act of extreme devotion that proved to be tremendously rewarding. These exciting, daring, and very entertaining films expanded our notions of what movies can do, showing us new ways of looking at and understanding the world around us,” said committee chair, Jeff Kleeman.

Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of IFP/Los Angeles, added, “To say that the nominations represent a wide spectrum of filmmaking is an understatement this year. These nominations represent a wide spectrum of filmmaking; the voices are original, provocative, and incredibly varied. It’s especially gratifying to see more women writer/directors emerging in the independent film world, including today’s nominees Shari Springer Berman, Sofia Coppola, Lisa France, Catherine Hardwicke, and Deborah Kampmeier.”

Selected from more than 190 submissions, the winners will be unveiled at the IFP Independent Spirit Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 28, 2004, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The ceremony will air live on IFC at 5:00 pm EST and is edited for rebroadcast on Bravo the same evening at 10:00 pm EST/PST.

Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the tenth consecutive year. Master of Ceremonies, Honorary Chairs and Presenters will be announced shortly.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors: IFC, Entertainment Weekly, DIRECTV, and Bravo; and by Principal Sponsors: Turning Leaf Vineyards, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Hewlett-Packard Company. On 3 Productions will produce the Official 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards General Attendee Gift Bag and Presenter Gift Lounge.

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 Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Jeff Kleeman. The 11-person committee included IFP/Los Angeles Executive Director Dawn Hudson, cinematographer John Bailey, director Tony Bui, director Patricia Cardoso, casting director Aisha Coley, actor Daryl Hannah, producer Meg LaFauve, screenwriter Jose Rivera, producer Stacy Sher, documentary filmmaker David Siegel, and Los Angeles Times Film Critic Kenneth Turan. Winners for the IFP 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 2003 calendar year or have played at one of the following seven film festivals: the IFP Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Seattle, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.

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 Far From Heaven, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead (Julianne Moore), Best Supporting Male (Dennis Quaid), and Best Cinematography; Y Tu Mamá También for Best Foreign Film; and Derek Luke who won Best Male Lead for Antwone Fisher.

IFP/Los Angeles, a nonprofit membership organization, 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. To promote independent film to a wider audience, IFP/LA produces the IFP Los Angeles Film Festival and the nationally televised IFP Independent Spirit Awards. With more than 6,000 members, IFP/Los Angeles is Southern California’s largest non-profit organization for independent filmmakers. For more information, visit

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

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~ David Simon