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"The 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards"

"The Academy Awards" for Independent Film, aka, "The 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards", was held this evening at "The Museum of American Finance" and "Cipriani Wall Street". The evening commenced with Terrence Howard singing the track, "Love Makes You Beautiful", off his latest CD, "Shine Through It".

Michelle Byrd addressed the audience congratulating IFP as it turns 30 this year. "Indie film is an artform. Since IFP's inception, they have assisted over 7000 films to be made, connecting filmmakers with audiences. It is not glamorous, and if you see our offices, they are hokey, but we do it because we love it. Thank you for your support IFP, and continue to please continue to support "The Gotham Awards". Thanks to "Delux", "Focus", "Variety", "A Diamond Is Forever".

Aasif Mandavi from "The Daily Show", hosted the show, "you may know me as the brown correspondent on the show", "Jon Stewart was asked to host the event this evening, but he wasn't available to do it, so they outsourced it to me."


First Category: Best Film NOT Playing at a Theater Near You:


Announcers: Melissa Leo of "Frozen River" and Rosemarie DeWitt of "Rachel Getting Married"


Nominees:
1. Antonio Campo's "Afterschool": a disturbing study of violence and voyeurism at a New England prep school. Antonio Campos: Writer and Director, Josh Mond, Sean Durkin, Producers


2. Taylor Greeson's "Meadowlark", is a haunting autobiographical documentary in which the filmmaker's adolescent experiences of first love and family tragedy become entwined. Taylor Greeson-Writer, Director, and Producer.


3. Tom Quinn's, "The New Year Parade", about a South Philadelphia working-class family torn apart by divorce. Tom Quinn-Writer & Director and Tom Quinn and Steve Beal-Producers.


4. Nina Paley's delightful animated musical, "Sita SIngs the Blues", in which the filmmaker interweaves the epic saga of ancient Indian lovers with her own romantic travails. Nina Paley: Writer, Director, and Animator.


5. Jake Mahaffy's "Wellness", the tragic and quintessentially American portrait of a door to door salesman who unwittingly participates in a pyramid scheme. Jake Mahaffy: Writer/Director and Jake Mahaffy and Jeff Clark/Producers.


The winner, "Sita Sings The Blues", won a $15,000 cash grant.
_______________________________________
Second Category: "Breakthrough Director"


Presenters: Mickey Rourke and Patricia Clarkson:


1. Antonio Campos: "Afterschool"
2. Dennis Dortch: "A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy"
3. Lance Hammer: "Ballast"
4. Barry Jenkins: "Medicine for Melancholy"
5. Alex RIvera: "Sleep Dealer's"


Winner: Lance Hammer: "Ballast"
_________________________________________
Warrington Hudlin, cofounder of the Black FIlmmaker Foundation in 1978 with George Cunningham, announced the Tribute to Melvin Van Peebles.


Warrington, "you bled my mother, you bled my father, but you won't bleed me."


Melvin: "Never in my wildest dream have I thought of an event as big as this evening, but a miracle could put itself together and make indie films. There is the possibility that you can do it, thank you for making it possible for other people who are doing it."
____________________________________
Ethan Hawke and Jennifer Esposito announced Best Ensemble Performance:


1. Ballast: Casting Director: Francine Thomas
2. Rachel Getting Married: Casting Director: Tiffany Little Canfield Bernard Telsey
3. Synecdoche, Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Casting Directors: Patricia Kerrigan DiCerto and Juliet Taylor\
5. The Visitor: Casting Directors: Paul Schnee, Suzanne Crowley


Winner: TIE: Synecdoche and Vicky Cristina Barcelona
_____________________________________


Liz Smith presented the Tribute to Sheila Nevins, President of HBO Documentary Division, has wond 9 Oscars, 13 Primetime Emmy's and 22 News and Documentary Emmy's. This Executive Producer has won over 800 Documentaries.


Sheila stated, "I'm here because I deserve this award. After 800 Documentaries, who better to win. My mother wanted me to be a nurse, my father wanted me to nurse her, so I'm not going to thank them. You can't come up with an idea when you feel good about yourself.
__________________________


Amy Adams announced Breakthrough Actor:


1. Pedro Castaneda: "August Evening"
2. Rosemarie DeWitt: "Rachel Getting Married"
3. Rebecca Hall: "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
4. Melissa Leo: "Frozen River"
5. Alejandro Polanco: "Chop Shop:
6. Michael J. Smith, Sr.: "Ballast"


Winner: Melissa Leo: "Frozen River"
__________________________


Mira Nair and Dennis Hopper announced Best Documentary:


1. Chris and Don: A Love Story
2. Encounters at the End of the World
3. Man on a Wire
4. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
5. Trouble The Water/Hurricane Katrina.


Winner: Trouble the Water
_________________________


Sean Penn announced Gus Van Sant's over 25 years in film, "For some work can be a forced thing, a failed thing, but with Gus it is an effortless thing."


Tribute to Gus Van Sant:
-To Die For
-Good WIll Hunting
-Drugstore Cowboy
-My Own Private Idaho
-Elephant
-Paranoid Park
-MIlk


Gus: "When you are working with actors, there is a hope to let them run the show."

______________________


Sir Ben Kingsley announced the Tribute to Penelope Cruz, "the camera loves her, the international population loves her, women lover her, men love her. There is not one dishonest bone in her entire body."


Woody Allen on screen stated, "I'm sorry I can't be there tonight, but thank God I had a prior engagement."

-Live Flesh
-All About My Mother
-Open Your Eyes
-Vanilla Sky
-Blow
-Don't Move
-Volver
-Elegy
-Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Penelope: "I'm very nervous. I'm jet lagged, so my English won't be that good. Happy to be celebrating indie films. I would love to thank the hypochondriac Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein. I would like to share this award with VCB and Elegy. Thank you Sir Ben Kingsley, it is impossible to call him anything less than Sir. I dedicate the award to my family, my friend Robert Carlo, and Pedro Almodavar, such an inspiration. It is great to wake up to do the job that I have loved since I was a little girl."
____________________


Best Feature:
Presenter: Michelle WIlliams and Marisa Tomei


1. Ballast
2. Frozen River
3. Synecdoche
4. The Visitor
5. The Wrestler


Winner: Frozen River

Sharon Abella

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