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Winners Announced for 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Ceremony to air exclusively on IFC, tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT

LOS ANGELES, March 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, handed out top honors to 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska at this afternoon's 29th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Blue Jasmine, Fruitvale Station, Blue is the Warmest Color, Short Term 12, This is Martin Bonner and 20 Feet from Stardom also received awards at the ceremony, which is held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Tune in to IFC tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT to catch all the action at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, with writer, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt hosting. Highlights include: The first ever award delivered via Wild Rabbit's state-of-the-art drone. Mid-show Patton also received multiple motivational messages via Skype from Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, Weird Al Yankovic and… his parents. Also showcased during the ceremony, the Indie-izer, Patton's newly developed app that turns any Hollywood big budget film into an indie film.

The Spirit Awards were the first event to exclusively honor independent film, and over the past 29 years, has become the premier awards show for the independent film community, celebrating films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. 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, Scarlett Johansson, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.

This year's major category winners were 12 Years a Slave, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Female and Best Cinematography and Dallas Buyers Club, which won Best Supporting Male and Best Male Lead; Fruitvale Station which won Best First Feature and Nebraska, which won Best First Screenplay; Blue Jasmine, which won Best Female Lead, Short Term 12 which won Best Editing; This is Martin Bonner, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Blue is the Warmest Color, which won Best International Film and 20 Feet from Stardom which won Best Documentary.

The 7th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film's director, casting director, and ensemble cast. Jeff Nichols' Mud received this award, along with casting director Francine Maisler and ensemble cast members Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant and Reese Witherspoon.

The 2014 Roger and Chaz Ebert Fellowship which includes a cash grant of $10,000 was awarded to Lulu Wang. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in Film Independent's signature diversity mentorship program, Project Involve. Wang wrote and directed her first feature film Posthumous set in Berlin, starring Jack Huston and Brit Marling

The Bright Future Award, sponsored by Unilever Project Sunlight, honors a filmmaker whose work best exemplifies a commitment to telling stories of positive change in the world. The inaugural Bright Future Award recipient is Patrick Creadon, whose film, If You Build It, exemplifies the power of hands-on education and the impact a few budding creative minds can have on the future of a community. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Unilever Project Sunlight.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards is sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, the Lincoln Motor Company and IFC and by Principal Sponsors Stella Artois and Experian. Unilever Project Sunlight is the Official Sponsor of the Live Arrivals Show streamed exclusively on Yahoo and additional sponsors include Skype, LensCrafters and Kiehl's Since 1851. Dark Horse is the Official Wine Sponsor, WireImage is the Official Photographer and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. Water is provided by Fiji Water and spirits by Patron Tequila. Digital broadcast support is provided by TV Pro Gear. 

The production team for this year's Spirit Awards includes executive producer Diana Zahn-Storey, Producers Chris Donovan, Shawn Davis and John Hamilton.

The following is a complete list of the winners: 
Best Feature: 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad 
Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures) 
Best Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures) 
Best First Feature: Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)
Director: Ryan Coogler, Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker 
Best First Screenplay: Bob Nelson, Nebraska (Paramount Pictures) 
John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000):  
This is Martin Bonner (Monterey Media inc) 
Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter 
Best Supporting Female: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best Supporting Male: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features) 
Best Female Lead: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) 
Best Male Lead: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, (Focus Features) 
Robert Altman Award: Mud (Roadside Attractions / Lionsgate)
Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon 
Best Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures) 
Best Editing: Nat Sanders, Short Term 12 (Cinedigm) 

Best International Film: Blue is the Warmest Color (France- IFC Films) 
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche 
Best Documentary: 20 Feet From Stardom (Radius-TWC) 
Director/Producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers

2014 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS  
BY DISTRIBUTOR

5 Fox Searchlight 
2 Focus Features 
1 Cinedigm  
1 IFC Films 
1 Paramount
1 Monterey Media inc 
1 Radius-TWC 
1 Roadside Attractions / Lionsgate 
1 Sony Pictures Classics 
1 The Weinstein Company

On January 11 the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The annual award, in its 17th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget. Finalists were Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa and Frederick Thornton.

Jason Osder, director of Let the Fire Burn, received the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 19th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Stella Artois. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez for Manakamana and Kalyanee Mam for A River Changes Course were also finalists for the award.

Shaka King, director of Newlyweeds, received the Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 20th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. The finalists for the award included Aaron Douglas Johnston for My Sister's Quinceanera and Madeleine Olnek for The Foxy Merkins.

ATTENDEES: 
Joining Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent, was Host Patton Oswalt.

Presenters included:  
Andy Samberg, Angela Bassett, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Cate Blanchett, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Diego Luna, Elisabeth Moss, Fred Armisen, Garrett Hedlund, Gong Li, Greta Gerwig, Jane Lynch, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kathyrn Hahn, Keanu Reeves, Kristen Bell, Matthew McConaughey, Marc Maron, Michael Sheen, Miles Teller, Paula Patton, Octavia Spencer, Paul Dano, Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Sarah Paulson, Will Forte, Zoe Kravtiz

Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton and Tata Vega from the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom performed at the show.

Nominees, special award recipients and celebrities expected to attend include:  
Shohreh Aghdashloo, Fred Armisen, Katie Aselton, Joe Don Baker, Angela Bassett, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Lake Bell, Maria Bello, Cate Blanchett, Joy Bryant, Merry Clayton, Paul Dano, Rosario Dawson, Majandra Delfino, Julie Delpy, Bruce Dern, Laura Dern, Melonie Diaz, ark Duplass, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Will Forte, Willie Garson, Greta Gerwig, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jonathan Groff, Bill Hader, Kathryn Hahn, Jon Hamm, Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins, Garrett Hedlund, Judith Hill, Gaby Hoffmann, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Karpovsky, Stana Katic, Anna Kendrick, Zoe Kravitz, Brie Larson, Jared Leto, Gong Li, Jacob Lofland, Darlene Love, Diego Luna, Jane Lynch, Marc Maron, Matthew McConaughey, Cristin Milioti, Elisabeth Moss, Lupita Nyong'o, Paula Patton, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Radnor, Keanu Reeves, Jeremy Renner, Krysten Ritter, Elizabeth Rohm, Yolonda Ross, Andy Samberg, Michael Shannon, Michael Sheen, Tye Sheridan, Columbus Short, Paul Sparks, Octavia Spencer, June Squibb, Keith Stanfield, Geoff Stults, Bonnie Sturdivant, Miles Teller, Juno Temple, Tata Vega, M. Emmet Walsh, David Walton, John Waters, Michaela Watkins, Reggie Watts, Josh Welsh, Ming-Na Wen, Forest Whitaker, Reese Witherspoon, Alfre Woodard and Shailene Woodley.

ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Now in its 29th 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. The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. 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 Editing, and the Robert Altman Award, Best International Film, and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award, the Bright Future Awards, sponsored by Unilever Project Sunlight and the Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award.

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT 
Film Independent is a nonprofit 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, as well as the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary of showcasing the best of American and international cinema. Film Independent also produces 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 filmindependent.org

SOURCE Film Independent

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