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2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Video Announcement

The Spirit Awards celebrates artist-driven filmmaking and recognizes the finest achievements of today’s independent filmmakers.



















- $115,000 in grants to be awarded to filmmakers -

LOS ANGELES (November 29, 2011) - Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards this morning.  Anthony Mackie and Kate Beckinsale served as presenters.  Nominees for Best Feature include 50/50, Beginners, Drive, Take Shelter and The Artist.

Margin Call was selected to receive the annual Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast.    

"The Film Independent Spirit Awards recognize the finest artistic achievements across the broad spectrum of independent filmmaking-from emerging talent working on a shoestring budget to established auteurs," said Film Independent Senior Director Sean Mc Manus.  "The 2012 nominees tell their stories in such an authentic way and reflect the inclusive nature of the independent filmmaking community.  We are delighted to support them and expand the audience for their work."

"The Spirit Awards focuses primarily on American independents, so it was an honor to serve alongside an esteemed and dedicated group of indie film colleagues to determine many of the 2012 nominees," said producer and Chair of the American Narrative Feature Nominating Committee Gail Mutrux.  "It was an invigorating process-experiencing first-hand the vast array of storytelling that defines independent film, and discovering many new talents whose films inspired us."

Winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2012.  The 27th annual awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, and the premiere broadcast will air later that evening at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.  Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the awards ceremony and announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 277 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost & individual compensation), and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committee was comprised of the following committees:

The American Narrative Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Gail Mutrux and included: film critic/journalist Robert Abele; writer Dustin Lance Black; producers Stuart Cornfeld, Barry Mendel; actors Dale Dickey, André Royo, Souléymane Sy Savané; cinematographers Paula Huidobro, Stephen Goldblatt; writer/directors Courtney Hunt, Robert D. Siegel; writer/director/producer Malcolm D. Lee; director Floria Sigismondi; casting director Margery Simkin; and writer Dan Waters.

The Documentary Feature Nominating Committee was chaired by CEO Landmark Theatres Ted Mundorff and included: producer Lesley Chilcott; KCET's Juan Devis; director Laura Gabbert; author/filmmaker Nelson George; filmmaker John Maringouin; San Francisco Film Society's Director of Programming Rachel Rosen; and Los Angeles Times and NPR's "Morning Edition" film critic Kenneth Turan.

The International Feature Nominating Committee was chaired by filmmaker Mary Sweeney and included: actors Shohreh Aghdashloo, Demián Bichir; Film Society of Lincoln Center's Director of Digital Strategy Eugene Hernandez; director Leon Ichaso; writer/director Larry Karaszewski; producer/director Hossein Keshavarz; cinematographer Ellen Kuras; composer Cliff Martinez; and producer Frida Torresblanco.

The Piaget Producers Award Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Brian Udovich and included: producers Anish Savjani, Lynette Howell and Amy Kaufman.

The Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee was chaired by producer Alison Dickey and included: filmmaker Jay Duplass; Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust; Denver Post film critic Lisa Kennedy; and writer/director Daniel Stamm.

The Truer Than Fiction Award Nominating Committee was chaired by film critic Wesley Morris and included: filmmakers Ava DuVernay, Laura Poitras; filmmaker/cinematographer PJ Raval; and programmer Laura Thielen.

As the first event to exclusively honor independent film, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors ELLE, Piaget and Jameson Irish Whiskey. WireImage is the Official Photographer 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

Now in its 27th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year 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 International Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award.  The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, Someone to Watch Award, Truer Than Fiction Award and Jameson FIND Your Audience Award.  

Film Independent is a 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, is 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 professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.  

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's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project:Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a member, visit

     # # # #

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)
50/50    Producers: Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin, Seth Rogen
Beginners    Producers: Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Jay Van Hoy
Drive    Producers: Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel
Take Shelter    Producers: Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin
The Artist    Producer: Thomas Langmann
The Descendants    Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Michel Hazanavicius    The Artist
Mike Mills    Beginners
Jeff Nichols    Take Shelter
Alexander Payne    The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn    Drive

Joseph Cedar    Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius    The Artist
Tom McCarthy    Win Win
Mike Mills    Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash    The Descendants

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Another Earth    Director: Mike Cahill
Producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker
In the Family    Director: Patrick Wang
Producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang
Margin Call    Director: J.C. Chandor
Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto
Martha Marcy May Marlene    Director: Sean Durkin
Producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond
Natural Selection    Director: Robbie Pickering
Producers: Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen

Mike Cahill, Brit Marling    Another Earth
J.C. Chandor    Margin Call
Patrick deWitt    Terri
Phil Johnston    Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser    50/50

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
Bellflower    Writer/Director: Evan Glodell
Producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw
Circumstance    Writer/Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Producers: Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee
Hello Lonesome    Writer/Director/Producer: Adam Reid

Pariah    Writer/Director: Dee Rees
Producer: Nekisa Cooper
The Dynamiter    Writer: Brad Inglesby
Director: Matthew Gordon
Producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

Lauren Ambrose    Think of Me
Rachael Harris    Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye    Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen    Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams    My Week with Marilyn

Demián Bichir    A Better Life
Jean Dujardin    The Artist
Ryan Gosling    Drive
Woody Harrelson    Rampart
Michael Shannon    Take Shelter

Jessica Chastain    Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston    50/50
Janet McTeer    Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana    Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley    The Descendants
Albert Brooks    Drive
John Hawkes    Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer    Beginners
John C. Reilly    Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll    Midnight in Paris
Joel Hodge    Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke    The Off Hours
Darius Khondji    Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Schiffman    The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron    The Dynamiter

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
An African Election    Director/Producer: Jarreth Merz
Bill Cunningham New York    Director: Richard Press
Producer: Philip Gefter
The Interrupters    Director/Producer: Steve James
Producer: Alex Kotlowitz
The Redemption of General Butt Naked    Director/Producers: Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
We Were Here    Director/Producer: David Weissman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
A Separation
(Iran)    Director: Asghar Farhadi
(Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany)    Director: Lars von Trier
(UK)    Director: Steve McQueen
The Kid With a Bike
(Belgium/France/Italy)    Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
(UK)    Director: Paddy Considine

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 15th 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.
Chad Burris    Mosquita y Mari
Sophia Lin    Take Shelter
Josh Mond    Martha Marcy May Marlene

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 18th annual 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.
Simon Arthur    Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson    Without
Nicholas Ozeki    Mamitas

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 17th 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.
Heather Courtney    Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis    Hell and Back Again
Alma Har'el    Bombay Beach

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film's director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Margin Call    Director: J.C. Chandor
      Casting Director: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey
    Ensemble Cast: Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci


Fox Searchlight    Another Earth, Cedar Rapids, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame, The Descendants, Win Win    14
Sony Pictures Classics    A Separation, Footnote, Midnight in Paris, Take Shelter    9
Focus Features    Beginners, Pariah    6
The Weinstein Company    My Week with Marilyn, The Artist    6
FilmDistrict    Drive    4
Roadside Attractions    Albert Nobbs, Circumstance, Margin Call    4
Summit Entertainment    50/50, A Better Life    4
The Cinema Guild    Natural Selection, The Interrupters    3
Oscilloscope Laboratories    Bellflower    2
No Distributor    The Dynamiter    2
ATO Pictures    Terri    1
Bodega Studios    Hello Lonesome    1
Focus World    Bombay Beach    1
International Film Circuit    Where Soldiers Come From    1
Magnolia Pictures    Melancholia    1
Millenium Entertainment    Rampart    1
Motion Film Group    Gun Hill Road    1
New Video    Hell and Back Again    1
Red Flag Releasing    We Were Here    1
Strand Releasing    Tyrannosaur    1
Sundance Selects    The Kid With a Bike    1
Zeitgeist Films    Bill Cunningham New York    1
No Distributor    An African Election    1
No Distributor    In the Family    1
No Distributor    Mamitas    1
No Distributor     Mosquito y Mari    1
No Distributor    The Off Hours    1
No Distributor    The Redemption of General Butt Naked    1
No Distributor    Silver Tongues    1
No Distributor    Think of Me    1


Take Shelter    5
The Artist    5
Beginners    4
Drive    4
The Descendants    4
Martha Marcy May Marlene    4
50/50    3
Another Earth    2
Bellflower    2
Cedar Rapids    2
Margin Call    2
Midnight in Paris    2
Natural Selection    2
Pariah    2
The Dynamiter    2
A Better Life    1
A Separation    1
Albert Nobbs    1
An African Election    1
Bill Cunningham New York    1
Bombay Beach    1
Circumstance    1
Footnote    1
Gun Hill Road    1
Hell and Back Again    1
Hello Lonesome    1
In the Family    1
Mamitas    1
Melancholia    1
Mosquito y Mari    1
My Week with Marilyn    1
Rampart    1
The Redemption of General Butt Naked    1
Shame    1
Silver Tongues    1
Terri    1
The Interrupters    1
The Kid With a Bike    1
The Off Hours    1
Think of Me    1
Tyrannosaur    1
We Were Here    1
Where Soldiers Come From    1
Win Win    1



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