2011 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations

Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner served as presenters and 2011 Spirit Awards host Joel McHale was also on hand.  Nominees for Best Feature include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone.

Please Give was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.

“The artistic side of independent film is stronger than ever, and it’s especially impressive to see the developed craft of extraordinary independent filmmakers who have only gotten better over the years.  Past nominees such as Darren Aronofsky, Noah Baumbach, Danny Boyle, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Nicole Holofcener and John Cameron Mitchell continue to create original and compelling films that move and amaze us.” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.

“It is an honor and a privilege to work with an organization that is passionate about the advancement of independent film.  This dedication and thoroughness was evident every step of the way during the nominee selection process,” said Ted Mundorff, Chair of the American Narrative Feature Nominating Committee. “The wide-ranging spectrum of talent, storylines and innovative filmmaking has once again raised the bar for independent film.”

Selected from 220 submissions, this year’s winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. on the beach in Santa Monica.  The 26th annual awards show will air exclusively that night on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.  Winners of the Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the Spirit Awards and announced at the 2011 Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch celebration on Saturday, January 15th at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

On Wednesday, February 23, a selection of Spirit Award nominees will discuss their films and their craft at Film Independent’s Directors Close-Up, a 5-week series that features conversations with directors and their collaborators.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee applies uniqueness of vision, original & provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost & individual compensation), and percentage of financing from independent sources as guidelines when making its selections. The Committee was composed of the following sub-committees:

The 13-person American Narrative Nominating Committee included Chair, CEO Landmark Theatres Ted Mundorff; actress Melonie Diaz; producers Jennifer Fox, Jennifer Todd; author/filmmaker Nelson George; director Karyn Kusama; writer/director/producers Larry Karaszewski, Edgar Wright; filmmaker Kasi Lemmons; film critic and host of KCRW’s “The Treatment” Elvis Mitchell; actor/producers Andre Royo, Adam Scott; and screenwriter Daniel Waters.

The 7-person Documentary Feature Nominating Committee included Chair, San Francisco Film Society Director of Programming Rachel Rosen; directors Nanette Burstein, Laura Gabbert; director/producer RJ Cutler; film critic Alonso Duralde; The Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris; and filmmaker Marina Zenovich.

The 7-person Foreign Feature Nominating Committee included Chair, filmmaker Mary Sweeney; writer/director/producer Julie Dash; writer/director Neil LaBute; producer Gail Mutrux; director Patricia Riggen; writer Howard A. Rodman; and Los Angeles Times and NPR’s “Morning Edition” film critic Kenneth Turan.

The 5-person Acura Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee included Chair, producer Alison Dickey; writer/director Kyle Patrick Alvarez; Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust; Sarasota Film Festival Artistic Director Tom Hall; and film critic Ella Taylor.

The 5-person Piaget Producer’s Award Nominating Committee included Chair, producer Karin Chien; producers Seth Caplan, Lisa Cortes, Amy Kaufman, and Barry Mendel.

The 5-person AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award Nominating Committee included Chair, filmmaker Darius Marder; producer Lesley Chilcott; editor Geeta Ghandbir; LincolnFilm Society’s Director of Digital Strategy Eugene Hernandez; and aspen FILM Artistic Director Laura Thielen.

The Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, a new filmmaker grant, was established this year to help make it possible for one Spirit Award-nominated film to find a broader audience.  Spirit Award-nominated films in need of expanding their marketing and distribution efforts will be considered.  The award includes a $50,000 marketing and distribution grant, funded by Jameson Irish Whiskey.  The grant was designed to meet independent filmmakers’ biggest challenge today: How to get their films out into the marketplace.  A blue-ribbon committee will determine the winner.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Netflix, Piaget, Acura, and Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Principal Sponsor AVEENO®.  WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent, American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner, 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

The Film Independent Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality.  Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Spirit Awards 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 Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award.  The Filmmaker Grants include Acura Someone to Watch Award, AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award, Piaget Producers Award, and the Jameson FIND Your Audience Award.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Netflix, Piaget, Acura, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Principal Sponsor AVEENO®.  WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, photo and video galleries, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit

Film Independent is a 501 (c)(3) 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, are 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 leader, or a film lover.

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 offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent’s mentorship and job placement program, Project:Involve, pairs emerging culturally diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.

Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and originality.

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BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)
127 Hours
Producers: Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, John Smithson
Black Swan
Producers: Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver
Producers: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Rudin
The Kids Are All Right
Producers: Gary Gilbert, Philippe Hellmann, Jordan Horowitz, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg
Winter’s Bone
Producers: Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Anne Rosellini

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
Danny Boyle – 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko – The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik – Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell – Rabbit Hole

Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko – The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini – Winter’s Bone
Nicole Holofcener – Please Give
David Lindsay-Abaire – Rabbit Hole
Todd Solondz – Life During Wartime

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Everything Strange and New – Director: Frazer Bradshaw, Producers: A.D. Liano, Laura Techera Francia
Get Low – Director: Aaron Schneider?, Producers: David Gundlach, Dean Zanuck
Night Catches Us – Director: Tanya Hamilton?, Producers: Sean Costello, Jason Orans, Ronald Simons
The Last Exorcism – Director: Daniel Stamm?, Producers: Marc Abraham, Tom Bliss, Eric Newman, Eli Roth
Tiny Furniture – Director: Lena Dunham?, Producers: Kyle Martin, Alicia Van Couvering

Diane Bell – Obselidia
Lena Dunham – Tiny Furniture
Nik Fackler – Lovely, Still
Bob Glaudini – Jack Goes Boating
Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener – Monogamy

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director, and producer.  Executive Producers are not listed
Daddy Longlegs
Writer/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Producers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott
Director: Matthew Bonifacio
Writer/Producers: Matthew Bonifacio, Carmine Famiglietti
Lovers of Hate
Writer/Director: Bryan Poyser
Producer: Megan Gilbride
Writer/Director: Diane Bell
Producers: Chris Byrne, Mathew Medlin
The Exploding Girl
Writer/Director: Bradley Rust Gray
Producers: Karin Chien, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim

Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig – Greenberg
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

Ronald Bronstein – Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart – Rabbit Hole
James Franco – 127 Hours
John C. Reilly – Cyrus
Ben Stiller – Greenberg

Ashley Bell – The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey – Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney – Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega – Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts – Mother and Child

John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson – Mother and Child
Bill Murray – Get Low
John Ortiz – Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right

Adam Kimmel – Never Let Me Go
Matthew Libatique – Black Swan
Jody Lee Lipes – Tiny Furniture
Michael McDonough – Winter’s Bone
Harris Savides – Greenberg

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Director: Banksy
Director: Jeff Malmberg
Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Directors: Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Thunder Soul
Director: Mark Landsman

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)
Kisses (Ireland)
Director: Lance Daly
Mademoiselle Chambon (France)
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Of Gods and Men (Morocco)
Director: Xavier Beauvois
The King’s Speech
(United Kingdom)
Director: Tom Hooper
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand)
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 17th annual Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Acura.
Hossein Keshavarz
Dog Sweat
Laurel Nakadate
The Wolf Knife
Mike Ott

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 14th annual Piaget 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 $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
In-Ah Lee
Au Revoir Taipei
Adele Romanski
The Myth of the American Sleepover
Anish Savjani
Meek’s Cutoff

AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 16th annual AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by AVEENO®.
Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor – Sweetgrass
Jeff Malmberg – Marwencol
Lynn True, Nelson Walker – Summer Pasture

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Please Give
Director: Nicole Holofcener

Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy

Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele

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