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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®.

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