Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 Independent Spirit Awards

Today's the day for the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards! Catch them on IFC at 2p pst/5p est or on AMC (edited and rebroadcast) at 10p est & pst. They are also streaming live on the Spirit Awards Web site. Indie films that have excelled in 2008 are nominated in various categories, like the Oscars, and given a platform for well-deserved accolades. Click here for a list of the nominees.

Film Independent (FIND) is the organization behind these awards. Those independent films that meet the following criteria (from the Spirit Awards Web site) are considered:
  1. All submitted films must be at least 70 minutes long.
  2. Cost of completed film, including post, must be less than $20 million.(For verification purposes, all films with total budgets exceeding $15 million or films with budgets under $500,000 applying for the Cassavetes Award are required to submit the top sheets from the film's Final Cost Report.)
  3. Eligible films must have either: a) Been shown at least one week in a commercial theater between January 1 and December 31, 2008; or b) Been shown in 2008 at one of the following six film festivals: The Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto. Films that have or will have domestic theatrical distribution should be submitted the year of their theatrical run.
The Nominating Guidelines (also from the Spirit Awards Web site) are: 

Uniqueness of vision
Original, provocative subject matter
Economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation)
Percentage of financing from independent sources
Except for the category of Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film, all nominations go to American films, defined as either:
Having at least one U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident credited in two or more of the following categories of responsibility: writer, director, producer; OR
The film is set in the United States and fully financed by a company whose principal office is in the U.S.

So now that you are knowledgeable on how the films made their way to the nomination, tune in and see who wins! 

I'm really excited to see that a number of films (Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, The Visitor, MilkThe Wrestler, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World, and The Betrayal) are in the running for both an Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar. All in the same weekend! Those filmmakers must be very happy and it's a great boost to the credibility of indie filmmaking. I'll be cheering for them all. 

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