AWARDS NEWS: “Precious”, “The Last Station” lead Spirit Award nominations

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Nominees for Best Feature include (500) Days Of Summer, Amreeka, Precious, Sin Nombre and The Last Station. Taraji P. Henson and Matt Dillon also announced finalists for the Acura Someone to Watch Award, the Truer Than Fiction Award, and the Piaget Producers Award.

A Serious Man was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast.

"It's astonishing to look back upon the wealth of fresh and diverse filmmaking talent that has been nominated over the past 25 years," said Film Independent's Executive Director Dawn Hudson. "This year's nominees continue to uphold that independent spirit, and have created exceptional work that we are proud to spotlight and celebrate."

"It is exciting to be able to recognize this diverse group of filmmakers, who despite the challenging times, continue to create meaningful and original work," said Stephanie Allain, Chair of the American Narrative Feature Nominating Committee.

Selected from 240 submissions, this year's winners will be unveiled at a late-night celebration on Friday, March 5, 2010, at LA Live's panoramic event deck in downtown Los Angeles. The 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony will air live and uncut on Friday, March 5, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. PST/11:00 p.m. EST on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Piaget, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Acura, Stella Artois and Principal Sponsor Netflix sponsor this year's event. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner and On3 Productions is the Official Presenter Gift Lounge Producer. Wire Image is the Official Photographer and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

On Wednesday, March 3, 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 14-person American Narrative Nominating Committee included Chair, producer Stephanie Allain; producers, Nina Jacobson, Gail Mutrux, Heather Rae; writer/director Mora Stephens; writer/director/producer Larry Karaszewski; director John Singleton; actors Melonie Diaz, S. Epatha Merkerson, Andre Royo; casting director Jeanne McCarthy; film critic Elvis Mitchell playwright; Bernard Weinraub; and Los Angeles Film Festival Artistic Director David Ansen.

The 8-person Documentary Feature Nominating Committee included Co-Chairs, film marketing veteran Laura Kim and Toronto International Film Festival documentary programmer Thom Powers; filmmakers Scott Kennedy, Marina Zenovich, Patrick Creadon, Stefan Forbes; cinematographer Ellen Kuras; and producer Chiemi Karasawa.

The 8-person Foreign Feature Nominating Committee included Chair, writer/director/producer Mary Sweeney; writer/directors Goran Dukic, Neil LaBute, Kasi Lemmons; past Director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Tim Kittleson; Sidney Kimmel Entertainment President of Creative Affairs, Bingham Ray; San Francisco Film Society Director of Programming, Rachel Rosen; and Los Angeles Times Film Critic Kenneth Turan.

The 5-person Acura Someone to Watch Nominating Committee included Chair, filmmaker and Austin Film Society's Director of Artist Series, Bryan Poyser; filmmakers Rodney Evans, Barry Jenkins; Denver Post Film Critic Lisa Kennedy; and festival programmer Mike Plante.

The 5-person Truer Than Fiction Nominating Committee included Chair, filmmaker AJ Schnack; filmmakers Thomas Allen Harris, Darius Marder, Laura Poitras; and Sundance Institute's Director of Documentary Film Program, Cara Mertes.

The 5-person Piaget Producer's Award Nominating Committee included Chair, producer Effie T. Brown; producers Amy Hobby, Paul Mezey; Film Finances Inc. Vice President, Paula Schmit; and New York University film professor Karl Bardosh.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, media and publicist credentials, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit SpiritAwards.com.

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT

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.

For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org.

2010 SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)

(500) Days Of Summer       Producers: Mason Novick, Jessica
Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
--------------------       ---------------------------------------
Amreeka             Producers: Paul Barkin, Christina
Piovesan
-------             ---------------------------------
Precious             Producers: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness,
Sarah Siegel-Magness
--------             -------------------------------------
Sin Nombre            Producer: Amy Kaufman
----------            ---------------------
The Last Station         Producers: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling,
Jens Meuer
----------------         ----------------------------------------

BEST DIRECTOR

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen      A Serious Man
---------------------      -------------
Lee Daniels           Precious
-----------           --------
Cary Joji Fukunaga        Sin Nombre
------------------        ----------
James Gray            Two Lovers
----------            ----------
Michael Hoffman         The Last Station
---------------         ----------------

BEST SCREENPLAY

Alessandro Camon, Oren
Moverman            The Messenger
----------------------     -------------
Michael Hoffman         The Last Station
---------------         ----------------
Lee Toland Krieger       The Vicious Kind
------------------       ----------------
Greg Mottola          Adventureland
------------          -------------
Scott Neustadter, Michael H.
Weber             (500) Days Of Summer
----------------------------  --------------------

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

A Single Man          Director: Tom Ford
Producers: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert
Salerno, Chris Weitz
------------          -----------------------------------------
Crazy Heart           Director: Scott Cooper
Producers: T Bone Burnett, Judy Cairo,
Rob Carliner, Scott Cooper, Robert
Duvall
-----------           --------------------------------------
Easier With Practice      Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Producer: Cookie Carosella
--------------------      --------------------------
Paranormal Activity       Director: Oren Peli
Producer: Jason Blum, Oren Peli
-------------------       -------------------------------
The Messenger          Director: Oren Moverman
Producers: Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee,
Zach Miller
-------------          ----------------------------------------

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Sophie Barthes          Cold Souls
--------------          ----------
Scott Cooper           Crazy Heart
------------           -----------
Cherien Dabis          Amreeka
-------------          -------
Geoffrey Fletcher        Precious
-----------------        --------
Tom Ford, David Scearce     A Single Man
-----------------------     ------------

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

Big Fan             Writer/Director: Robert Siegel
Producers: Elan Bogarin, Jean Kouremetis
-------             ----------------------------------------
Humpday             Writer/Director/Producer: Lynn Shelton
-------             --------------------------------------
The New Year Parade       Writer/Director: Tom Quinn
Producers: Steve Beal, Tom Quinn
-------------------       --------------------------------
Treeless Mountain        Writer/Director: So Yong Kim
Producers: Bradley Rust Gray, Ben Howe,
So Yong Kim, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy
-----------------        ---------------------------------------
Zero Bridge           Writer/Director: Tariq Tapa
Producers: Josee Lajoie, Hilal Ahmed
Langoo, Tariq Tapa
-----------           ------------------------------------

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Maria Bello           Downloading Nancy
-----------           -----------------
Nisreen Faour          Amreeka
-------------          -------
Helen Mirren           The Last Station
------------           ----------------
Gwyneth Paltrow         Two Lovers
---------------         ----------
Gabourey Sidibe         Precious
---------------         --------

BEST MALE LEAD

Jeff Bridges           Crazy Heart
------------           -----------
Colin Firth           A Single Man
-----------           ------------
Joseph Gordon-Levitt       (500) Days Of Summer
--------------------       --------------------
Souleymane Sy Savane       Goodbye Solo
--------------------       ------------
Adam Scott            The Vicious Kind
----------            ----------------

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Dina Korzun           Cold Souls
-----------           ----------
Mo'Nique             Precious
--------             --------
Samantha Morton         The Messenger
---------------         -------------
Natalie Press          Fifty Dead Men Walking
-------------          ----------------------
Mia Wasikowska          That Evening Sun
--------------          ----------------

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Jemaine Clement         Gentlemen Broncos
---------------         -----------------
Woody Harrelson         The Messenger
---------------         -------------
Christian McKay         Me and Orson Welles
---------------         -------------------
Raymond McKinnon         That Evening Sun
----------------         ----------------
Christopher Plummer       The Last Station
-------------------       ----------------

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Roger Deakins          A Serious Man
-------------          -------------
Adriano Goldman         Sin Nombre
---------------         ----------
Anne Misawa           Treeless Mountain
-----------           -----------------
Andrij Parekh          Cold Souls
-------------          ----------
Peter Zeitlinger         Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
----------------         ----------------------------------------

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

Anvil! The Story of Anvil    Director: Sacha Gervasi
-------------------------    -----------------------
Food, Inc.            Director: Robert Kenner
----------            -----------------------
More Than A Game         Director: Kristopher Belman
----------------         ---------------------------
October Country         Directors: Donal Mosher, Michael
Palmieri
---------------         --------------------------------
Which Way Home          Director: Rebecca Cammisa
--------------          -------------------------

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

A Prophet            Director: Jacques Audiard
(France)
--------             -------------------------
An Education           Director: Lone Scherfig
(UK/France)
-----------           -----------------------
Everlasting Moments       Director: Jan Troell
(Sweden)
--------             --------------------
Mother              Director: Bong Joon-Ho
(South Korea)
-------------          ----------------------
The Maid             Director: Sebastian Silva
(Chile)
-------             -------------------------

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 16th 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.

Kyle Patrick Alvarez       Easier With Practice
--------------------       --------------------
Asiel Norton           Redland
------------           -------
Tariq Tapa            Zero Bridge
----------            -----------

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 15th annual 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.

Natalia Almada          El General
--------------          ----------
Jessica Oreck          Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
-------------          ---------------------------
Bill Ross, Turner Ross      45365
----------------------      -----

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 13th 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.

Karin Chien           The Exploding Girl, Santa Mesa
-----------           ------------------------------
Larry Fessenden         I Sell the Dead, The House of the Devil
---------------         ---------------------------------------
Dia Sokol            Beeswax, Nights & Weekends
---------            --------------------------

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film's director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

A Serious Man          Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
-------------          --------------------------------
Casting Directors: Ellen Chenoweth,
Rachel Tenner
-----------------------------------
Ensemble Cast: Richard Kind, Sari
Lennick, Jessica McManus, Fred Melamed,
Michael Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff
---------------------------------------