Independent Spirit Awards

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

Best Feature
Producer: Michael London

Best Director
Alexander Payne

Best Screenplay
Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor

Best First Feature
Garden State
Director: Zach Braff
Producers: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert,
Dan Halsted, Richard Klubeck

Best First Screenplay
Joshua Marston
Maria Full of Grace

John Cassavetes Award
(For the Best Feature made for under $500,000)
Mean Creek
Writer/Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Producers: Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham

Best Debut Performance*
Rodrigo de la Serna
The Motorcycle Diaries
*Actors making their first appearance in a feature film

Best Supporting Female
Virginia Madsen

Best Supporting Male
Thomas Haden Church

Best Female Lead
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Maria Full of Grace

Best Male Lead
Paul Giamatti

Best Cinematography
Eric Gautier
The Motorcycle Diaries

Best Foreign Film
The Sea Inside
Director: Alejandro Amenábar

Best Documentary
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

The Nominations

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
* Executive Producers are not listed.
Baadasssss! – Producer: Mario Van Peebles
Kinsey – Producer: Gail Mutrux
Maria Full of Grace – Producer: Paul Mezey
Primer – Producer: Shane Carruth
Sideways – Producer: Michael London

Shane Carruth, Primer
Joshua Marston, Maria Full of Grace
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Walter Salles, The Motorcycle Diaries
Mario Van Peebles, Baadasssss!

Baadasssss! – Writers: Mario Van Peebles & Dennis Haggerty
Before Sunset – Writers: Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke The Door in the Floor – Writer: Tod Williams
Kinsey – Writer: Bill Condon
Sideways – Writers: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the Director and Producer)
Brother to Brother
Director: Rodney Evans
Producers: Rodney Evans, Jim McKay, Isen Robbins, and Aimee Schoof

Garden State
Director: Zach Braff
Producers: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert, Dan Halsted, and Richard Klubeck

Napoleon Dynamite
Director: Jared Hess
Producers: Jeremy Coon, Sean C. Covel, and Chris Wyatt

Saints and Soldiers
Director: Ryan Little
Producers: Adam Abel and Ryan Little

The Woodsman Director: Nicole Kassell
Producer: Lee Daniels


Brother to Brother – Writer: Rodney Evans
Garden State – Writer: Zach Braff
Maria Full of Grace – Writer: Joshua Marston
Primer – Writer: Shane Carruth
Robbing Peter – Writer: Mario F. de la Vega

(Given to the best feature made for $500,000; Award given to the writer, director, and producer)
* Executive Producers are not listed.

Down to the Bone
Director: Debra Granik
Writers: Debra Granik and Richard Lieske
Producers: Susan Leber, Anne Rosellini

Mean Creek
Writer/Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Producers: Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham

On the Outs
Directors: Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik
Writer: Lori Silverbush
Producers: Lori Silverbush, Michael Skolnik

Robbing Peter
Writer/Director: Mario F. de la Vega
Producers: T. Todd Flinchum, Lisa Y. Garibay, and
Mario F. de la Vega

Unknown Soldier
Writer/Director: Ferenc Toth
Producers: Sean Bachrodt, Seth Eisman, Chachi Senior, and
Ferenc Toth

(Actors in their first significant role in a feature film)

Anthony Mackie – Brother to Brother
Louie Olivos, Jr. – Robbing Peter
Hannah Pilkes – The Woodsman
Rodrigo de la Serna – The Motorcycle Diaries
David Sullivan – Primer


Cate Blanchett – Coffee and Cigarettes
Loretta Devine – Woman Thou Art Loosed
Virginia Madsen – Sideways
Robin Simmons – Robbing Peter
Yenny Paola Vega – Maria Full of Grace

Thomas Haden Church – Sideways
Jon Gries – Napoleon Dynamite
Aidan Quinn – Cavedweller
Roger Robinson – Brother to Brother
Peter Sarsgaard – Kinsey


Kimberly Elise – Woman Thou Art Loosed
Vera Farmiga – Down to the Bone
Judy Marte – On the Outs
Catalina Sandino Moreno – Maria Full of Grace
Kyra Sedgwick – Cavedweller


Kevin Bacon – The Woodsman
Jeff Bridges – The Door in the Floor
Jamie Foxx – Redemption
Paul Giamatti – Sideways
Liam Neeson – Kinsey


Dandelion – Tim Orr
The Motorcycle Diaries – Eric Gautier
Redemption – David Greene
Saints and Soldiers – Ryan Little
We Don’t Live Here Anymore – Maryse Alberti

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the Director)

Bad Education – Spain Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Oasis – South Korea Director: Lee Chang-Dong
Red Lights – France Director: Cédric Kahn
The Sea Inside – Spain Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Yesterday – South Africa Director: Darrell James Roodt

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the Director)

Bright Leaves – Director: Ross McElwee
Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed – Director: Shola Lynch
Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust – Directors: Menachem Daum and
Oren Rudavsky
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster – Directors: Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky
Tarnation – Director: Jonathan Caouette

Ensemble Cast: Mean Creek
…..Rory Culkin – Mean Creek
…..Ryan Kelley – Mean Creek
…..Scott Mechlowicz – Mean Creek
…..Trevor Morgan – Mean Creek
…..Josh Peck – Mean Creek
…..Carly Schroeder – Mean Creek

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

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

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

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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

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon