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Independent Spirit Awards to Juno, The Savages, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Juno, The Savages, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly shared top category honors at the 2008 Film Independent’s SpiritAwards, making the highly anticipated annual event into a celebration of the diverse films that captured the public’s attention this year.  

Once, Crazy Love, Talk to Me, The Lookout, August Evening, and I’m Not There also received awards at the event. 

The 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards were held Saturday, February 23, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo.
This annual event, which began as a small grassroots program, has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the film year. As part of an organizational greening initiative, Film Independent implemented numerous changes to produce an eco-friendly awards show this year.
Working in accordance with the Environmental Media Association’s Green Seal Guidelines, the 2008 Film Independent's Spirit Awards will be presented with the EMA Green Seal Award at the 18th Annual Environmental Media Awards this fall.

This year’s major category winners were Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Juno, which won Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Ellen Page), and Best First Screenplay (Diablo Cody), The Savages, which won Best Male Lead (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Best Screenplay (Tamara Jenkins), and Once which won Best Foreign Film; and Miramax Films’ The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which won Best Director (Julian Schnabel), and Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), and The Lookout, which won Best First Feature.

August Evening received the John Cassavetes Award for the Best Feature made for under $500,000. The film made its world premier at Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival and received the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature.

Neill Kopp, producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy, received the eleventh annual Piaget Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.

The winner of the Producers Award receives an unrestricted grant of $25,000 funded by Piaget Ramin Bahrani, director of Chop Shop, won the fourteenth annual Acura Someone To Watch Award, a $25,000 unrestricted grant created to honor a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

The award is funded by Acura.Laura Dunn, director of The Unforeseen, won the twelfth annual IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.
The award is accompanied by a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by IFC.
Also given was the first-ever Robert Altman Award, given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast.

Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, about the legendary musician Bob Dylan, received this inaugural award, along with casting director Laura Rosenthal, and ensemble cast members Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, David Cross, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Richard Gere, Bruce Greenwood, Heath Ledger, Julianne Moore, Ben Whishaw, and Michelle Williams.


Actor Rainn Wilson served as Master of Ceremonies. Javier Bardem served as Honorary Chair.
Diana Zahn-Storey executive produced the 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards for the fourteenth year.

 The following is a complete list of the winners:

Best Feature Fox Searchlight Pictures
Juno Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich,Mason Novick, Russell Smith

Best Director Miramax Films
Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Screenplay Fox Searchlight Pictures
Tamara Jenkins The Savages

Best First Feature Miramax Films
The Lookout Director: Scott FrankProducers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber,Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes

Best First Screenplay Fox Searchlight Pictures
Diablo Cody Juno

John Cassavetes Award Maya Pictures
(For the Best Feature made for under $500,000) Writer/Director: Chris Eska
August Evening Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Best Supporting Female The Weinstein Company
Cate Blanchett I’m Not There

Best Supporting Male Focus Features
3 of 7Chiwetel Ejiofor Talk To Me

Best Female Lead Fox Searchlight Pictures
Ellen Page Juno

Best Male Lead Fox Searchlight Pictures
Philip Seymour Hoffman The Savages

Best Cinematography Miramax Films
Janusz Kaminski The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Foreign Film Fox Searchlight Pictures
Once Director: John Carney

Best Documentary Magnolia Pictures
Crazy Love Director: Dan Klores




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