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Laura Dern to Chair Spirit Awards Event Committee

Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced today that the 2010 Spirit Awards will be held on Friday evening March 5 at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. The event will be held in a tent on the complexís panoramic event deck beginning at 8:00 p.m. Over the past 25 years, the event has been held at various locations in Los Angeles, including 385 North Restaurant, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Beverly Hills Hotel, Raleigh Studios, the Historic Hollywood Palladium, and the Santa Monica beach.
"We wanted to do something very special and different for the 25th Anniversary by holding the only late-night awards show, where our audience can tune-in live at 11:00pm on the East Coast," said Film Independent's Executive Director Dawn Hudson. "Our new venue will still have the laid-back, no-holds-barred atmosphere that only the independent film community can create."
The milestone 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). The nominations press conference will take place on Tuesday, December 1, and all past Spirit Award winners and nominees will be eligible to vote for this year's winners.
Longtime Film Independent supporter and multiple Spirit Awards nominee Laura Dern is chairing the 25th Anniversary Spirit Awards Event Committee. Dern's history with the Spirit Awards dates back to 1986 and 1987, when she was nominated for Best Female Lead for her performances in Smooth Talk and Blue Velvet. Dern and David Lynch won a Special Distinction Award in 2007 in recognition for their unique and stunning collaborative work on Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and Inland Empire. Dern currently serves on Film Independent's Board of Directors.
"The Spirit Awards have always held a special place in my heart because of the acknowledgement they bestow on filmmaking talent who dare to tell powerful and provocative stories," said Dern. "The 25th Anniversary pays tribute to them, as well as to those who continue to carry that independent spirit and who choose boldly to collaborate and create for vision, not commerce."
Dick Clark Productions and independent producer Jamie McGurk will serve as Executive Producers, taking over the production from Diana Zahn-Storey, who executive produced the show for 15 years. Zahn-Storey will continue to serve in an advisory capacity. Zahn-Storey has started her own event production company, Nuts-n-Bolts Productions. Spirit Award-winning actor, writer and director Mike White will serve as Creative Consultant to the show.
McGurk has several projects in development through her production banner Off Balance Productions, and is a co-founder of SeaChange Communications, a political communications company specializing in non-traditional communications for the political and non-profit arenas. She has donated her time as a marketing consultant for Film Independent and The H.E.L.P. Group, is the Co-President of California State Summer School for the Arts, and previously served as a Board of Trustees Member for the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
White's history with the Spirit Awards includes a win for Best Feature Under $500,000 and nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Debut Performance in 2001 for Chuck & Buck, followed by a Best Screenplay win in 2003 for The Good Girl and a Best Screenplay nomination in 2008 for Year of the Dog.
"We are so thrilled to be working with Laura, Barry, Jamie and Mike to create a memorable show that honors both the incredible history of independent film and this year's artists," said Hudson.
As the first event to exclusively honor independent film, the Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards show for the independent film community. Founded in 1984 as a small grassroots program, the Spirit Awards started out as the FINDIE ("Friends of Independents") Awards, and officially became the Independent Spirit Awards in 1986. It has now grown into one of the most anticipated film events of the year, honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and dare to challenge the status quo. Artists receiving 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 and many more.
In addition to celebrating the talented nominees and winners at the ceremony, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independentís year-round programs, which cultivates the careers of independent filmmakers and promotes diversity in the film industry. Year-round sponsors, Spirit Circle members and Industry Circle members receive the option to purchase tickets and tables to the gala beginning today. All details can be found at
This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Piaget, Acura, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Principal Sponsor Netflix. Wire Image is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.

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.
Selected from more than 250 submissions, 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, and Best Documentary.
The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees apply the following guidelines in making its selections:

1. Uniqueness of vision
2. Original, provocative subject matter
3. Economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation)
4. Percentage of financing from independent sources

Eligible films must be at least 70 minutes long, and the cost of the completed film, including post-production, must be under $20 million (any variation is at the sole discretion of the nominating committee). Films must have been shown in a commercial theater for at least one week between January 1 and December 31, 2009 or shown at one of the following festivals in 2009: Film Independentís Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.
After the committees select the nominees, the past Spirit Award nominees, members of Film Independent and IFP cast the final votes. Voters view nominated films before selecting the winners by attending nominee screenings and through mailed screeners.
Last year's Spirit Award winners included The Wrestler, which won Best Feature, Best Male Lead (Mickey Rourke), and Best Cinematography (Maryse Alberti), Milk, which won Best Supporting Male (James Franco) and Best First Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black), and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which won Best Supporting Female (Penelope Cruz) and Best Screenplay (Woody Allen). Additional winners included The Visitor for Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Frozen River for Best Female Lead (Melissa Leo), Synecdoche, New York for Best First Feature (Charlie Kaufman), The Class for Best Foreign Film and Man on Wire for Best Documentary. In Search of a Midnight Kiss received the John Cassavetes Award for the Best Feature made for under $500,000; Heater Rae, producer of Frozen River and Ibid, received the Piaget Producers Award; Lynn Shelton, director of My Effortless Brilliance, won the Acura Someone to Watch Award; and Margaret Brown, director of The Order of Myths, received the LACOSTE Truer Than Fiction Award.

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