2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2017.
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Press release: Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, announced nominations for the 2017 Spirit Awards this morning. The Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at W Hollywood, with actors Jenny Slate and Edgar Ramirez presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included American Honey, Chronic, Jackie, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight.

"Now more than ever, the voices of independent artists play a critically important role in our culture,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “The films we celebrate at this year’s Spirit Awards embody the diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision that we champion all year long."

Moonlight was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2017. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT/ 5:00 pm ET.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

“The Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants enable us to not only recognize great work but also to provide much needed direct financial support to filmmakers,” said Josh Welsh. “We’re so appreciative of our grant funders, Kiehl’s Since 1851 and Piaget. Through their funding of the Producers Award, Piaget has been a steadfast supporter of film artists for the last decade.”

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 382 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

American Honey, Producers: Thomas Benski, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Lucas Ochoa, Pouya Shahbazian, Alice Weinberg

Chronic, Producers: Michel Franco, Gina Kwon, Gabriel Ripstein, Moisés Zonana

Jackie, Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Ari Handel, Juan de Dios Larraín, Mickey Liddell

Manchester by the Sea, Producers: Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh

Moonlight, Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

The Childhood of a Leader, Director: Brady Corbet; Producers: Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Chris Coen, Ron Curtis, Helena Danielsson, Mona Fastvold, István Major

The Fits, Director/Producer: Anna Rose Holmer; Producer: Lisa Kjerulff

Other People, Director: Chris Kelly; Producers: Sam Bisbee, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott

Swiss Army Man, Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert; Producers: Miranda Bailey, Lawrence Inglee, Lauren Mann, Amanda Marshall, Eyal Rimmon, Jonathan Wang

The Witch, Director: Robert Eggers; Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director and producer.  Executive Producers are not awarded.

Free In Deed, Writer/Director: Jake Mahaffy; Producers: Mike Bowes, Mike S. Ryan, Brent Stiefel

Hunter Gatherer, Writer/Director: Josh Locy; Producers: Michael Covino, April Lamb, Sara Murphy, Isaiah Smallman

Lovesong, Writer/Director: So Yong Kim; Writer/Producer: Bradley Rust Gray; Producers: David Hansen, Alex Lipschultz, Johnny Mac

Nakom, Writer/Director/Producer: TW Pittman, Director/Producer: Kelly Daniela Norris;  Writer/Producer: Isaac Adakudugu; Producer: Giovanni Ximénez

Spa Night, Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn; Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas


Andrea Arnold, American Honey

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Pablo Larraín, Jackie

Jeff Nichols, Loving

Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women


Barry Jenkins, Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, Little Men

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water


Robert Eggers, The Witch

Chris Kelly, Other People

Adam Mansbach, Barry

Stella Meghie, Jean of the Joneses

Craig Shilowich, Christine


Ava Berkofsky, Free In Deed

Lol Crawley, The Childhood of a Leader

Zach Kuperstein, The Eyes of My Mother

James Laxton, Moonlight

Robbie Ryan, American Honey


Matthew Hannam, Swiss Army Man

Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight

 Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water

Sebastián Sepúlveda, Jackie


Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Sasha Lane, American Honey

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie


Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

David Harewood, Free In Deed

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Jesse Plemons, Other People

Tim Roth, Chronic


Edwina Findley, Free In Deed

Paulina Garcia, Little Men

Lily Gladstone, Certain Women

 Riley Keough, American Honey

Molly Shannon, Other People


Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash

Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Shia LaBeouf, American Honey

Craig Robinson, Morris from America

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Moonlight, 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 DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

13th, Director/Producer: Ava DuVernay; Producers: Spencer Averick, Howard Barish 

Cameraperson, Director/Producer: Kirsten Johnson; Producer: Marilyn Ness

I Am Not Your Negro, Director/Producer: Raoul Peck; Producers: Rémi Grellety, Hérbert Peck         

O.J.: Made in America, Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman; Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow

Sonita, Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, Producer: Gerd Haag

Under the Sun, Director: Vitaly Mansky, Producer: Natalya Manskaya

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Aquarius (Brazil), Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho             

Chevalier (Greece), Director: Athina Tsangari

My Golden Days (France), Director: Arnaud Desplechin

Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania), Director: Maren Ade

Under the Shadow (Iran and U.K.), Director: Babak Anvari

20th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 20th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Lisa Kjerulff

Jordana Mollick

Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 23rd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

Andrew Ahn, Director of Spa Night

Claire Carré, Director of Embers     

Anna Rose Holmer, Director of The Fits

Ingrid Jungermann, Director of Women Who Kill

22nd TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 22nd annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Kristi Jacobson, Director of Solitary      

Sara Jordenö, Director of Kiki

Nanfu Wang, Director of Hooligan Sparrow

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