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2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Announced

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, handed out honors to Moonlight, The Witch, Other People, Manchester by the Sea, Elle and Hell or High Water at this afternoon's 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards. Spa Night, O.J.: Made in America and Toni Erdman also received awards at the ceremony, which was held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent's year-round programs.

The ceremony aired live today on IFC and a rebroadcast will air later this evening; please check your local listings for times. An on-demand version of the Spirit Awards will also be made available for Sundance Now members shortly after the telecast concludes. Clips from the ceremony will be available on Film Independent's YouTube channel after the show.

Over the past 32 years, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Ava DuVernay, Justin Simien, Ryan Coogler, Joel and 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, Lena Dunham and many more.

This year's major winners were Moonlight, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and the Robert Altman Award; The Witch, which won Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay; Manchester by the Sea, which won Best Male Lead; Elle, which won Best Female Lead; Hell or High Water, which won Best Supporting Male; Other People, which won Best Supporting Female; Spa Night, which won the John Cassavetes Award; O.J.: Made in America, which won Best Documentary and Toni Erdmann, which won Best International Film.

The 10th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight received this award, along with casting director Yesi Ramirez and ensemble cast members Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes and Ashton Sanders.

The 2017 Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship, which includes a cash grant of $10,000, was awarded to Project Involve Fellow, Jomo Fray. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in a Film Independent Artist Development program with the mission of diversity in mind. Film Independent also awarded the inaugural Turner Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 cash grant, to Project Involve Fellow Kady Kamakate. This generous three-year commitment from Turner Broadcasting, Project Involve Lead Sponsor, will enable Film Independent to provide an even deeper level of support to talented filmmakers from under-represented communities.

The following is a complete list of the winners:

Best Feature: 
Moonlight (A24)
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Best Director: 
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (A24)

Best Screenplay: 
Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Story By), Moonlight (A24)

Best First Feature: 
The Witch (A24)
Director: Robert Eggers
Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira

Best First Screenplay:
Robert Eggers, The Witch (A24)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000):
Spa Night (Strand Releasing)
Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn
Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas

Best Supporting Female:
Molly Shannon, Other People (Vertical Entertainment)

Best Supporting Male: 
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate)

Best Female Lead:
Isabelle Huppert, Elle (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Male Lead:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios)

Robert Altman Award: 
Moonlight (A24)
Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

Best Cinematography: 
James Laxton, Moonlight (A24)

Best Editing:
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight (A24)

Best International Film: 
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania– Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Maren Ade

Best Documentary: 
O.J.: Made in America (ESPN Films)
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Deirdre Fenton, Libby Geist, Nina Krstic, Erin Leyden, Tamara Rosenberg, Connor Schell, Caroline Waterlow

2017 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS
BY DISTRIBUTOR

8 A24
2 Sony Pictures Classics
1 Amazon Studios
1 CBS Films/Lionsgate
1 ESPN Films
1 Strand Releasing
1 Vertical Entertainment

On January 7, the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

Jordana Mollick 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 20th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget for the 10th year. Finalists for the award were Lisa Kjerulff, Melody C. Roscher and Craig Shilowich.

Anna Rose Holmer, director of The Fits, received the Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 23rd year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl's Since 1851. Finalists for the award were Andrew Ahn, director of Spa Night, Claire Carré, director of Embers and Ingrid Jungermann, director of Women Who Kill.

Nanfu Wang, director of Hooligan Sparrow, received the 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 22nd year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.  Finalists for the award were Kristi Jacobson, director of Solitary and Sara Jordenö, director of Kiki.

Attendees:
Joining Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent, were hosts Nick Kroll and John Mulaney and Spirit Award Honorary Chair David Oyelowo.

Featured Band: Gary Clark Jr.

Presenters included: Fred Armisen, Hank Azaria, Kate Beckinsale, Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jon Hamm, Colin Hanks, Taraji P. Henson, Samuel L. Jackson, Danny McBride, Janelle Monáe, Viggo Mortensen, David Oyelowo, Amanda Peet, Freida Pinto, Aubrey Plaza, Issa Rae, Edgar Ramirez, Jenny Slate, Miles Teller and Kerry Washington.

Nominees and celebrities in attendance included:
Casey Affleck, Mahershala Ali, Annette Bening, Matt Damon, Ava DuVernay, Naomie Harris, Isabelle Huppert, Viggo Mortenson, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Molly Shannon and more.

ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Now in its 32nd year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films 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 Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, American Airlines, Jeep brand, IFC, and Principal Sponsor AT&T, as well as Breyers Gelato Indulgences. FIJI Water is the Official Water. Perrier-Jouët is the Official Champagne.  Landmark Vineyards is the Official Wine. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the Official Spirit.  WireImage is the Official Photographer.

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
Film Independent is the non-profit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling 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. Film Independent also produces the LA Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and Film Independent at LACMA, 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.

About IFC
IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies. Original series Portlandia, Documentary Now!, Stan Against Evil and the upcoming Brockmire (April 2017) air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows.  IFC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and available across multiple platforms.  IFC is Always On Slightly Off.

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