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2011 Film Independent Spirit Award Filmmaker Grant Winners Announced

hollywoodnews.com: Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced the winners of its four filmmaker grant awards at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch held at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Sandra Oh and Terrence Howard hosted the casual event and handed out the honors.

Winners for the additional categories will be revealed at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica beach on Saturday, February 26, 2011. The ceremony will air exclusively on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, and as previously announced, actor and comedian Joel McHale will serve as host.

“This is the 18th year we have given out these grant awards, and they have now helped 47 emerging artists share their work with a larger audience, pay bills for their film, or get them started on their next project,” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. “We are so proud to honor the 2011 Filmmaker Grant recipients, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Mike Ott, director of LiTTLEROCK , received the seventeenth annual Acura Someone to Watch Award, which 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. The other finalists were Hossein Keshavarz for Dog Sweat and Laurel Nakadate for The Wolf Knife.

Anish Savjani, producer of Meek’s Cutoff received the fourteenth annual Piaget Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent film. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget. The other finalists were In-Ah Lee for Au Revoir Taipei and Adele Romanski for The Myth of the American Sleepover.

Jeff Malmberg, director of Marwencol, received the sixteenth annual AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award, which is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by AVEENO®. The other finalists were Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor for Sweetgrass and Lynn True & Nelson Walker for Summer Pasture.

Marwencol received the inaugural Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, which makes it possible for one Spirit Award-nominated film to find a broader audience. The grant was designed to meet independent filmmakers’ biggest challenge today: How to get their films out into the marketplace. Spirit Award-nominated films in need of expanding their marketing and distribution efforts were considered by a blue-ribbon committee that consisted of Warner Bros. Head of Worldwide Marketing Sue Kroll (Chair), producer Effie T. Brown, CEO of Landmark Theatres Ted Mundorff, and producer Gail Mutrux. The award includes a $50,000 marketing and distribution grant, funded by Jameson Irish Whiskey®.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Netflix, Piaget, Acura, Jameson Irish Whiskey®, HTC, and Principal Sponsors Stella Artois and AVEENO®. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent, American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film Independent, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows is the Official Host Hotel, and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS

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.

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, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award. The Filmmaker Grants include the Acura Someone to Watch Award, Piaget Producers Award, AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award, and the Jameson FIND Your Audience Award.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Netflix, Piaget, Acura, Jameson Irish Whiskey®, HTC and Principal Sponsors Stella Artois and AVEENO®. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent, American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film Independent, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows is the Official Host Hotel, and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, photo and video galleries, 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.

CONTACT: Elise Freimuth of Film Independent, +1-310-432-1287, EFreimuth@FilmIndependent.org; or Chris Libby of Ginsberg/Libby, +1-323-645-6800, chris.libby@ginsberglibby.com, for Film Independent
Web Site: http://www.filmindependent.org

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