Film Independent announced the winners of its four filmmaker grants at the annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch hosted by director and Project Involve Fellow Jon M. Chu (In the Heights, Crazy Rich Asians) and actor and Spirit Award nominee Alfre Woodard (Clemency). Winners for the remaining categories will be revealed at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8. The awards ceremony will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 5:00 pm ET / 2:00 pm PT.
Kelly Reichardt received the third Bonnie Award. Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the Bonnie Award recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines. Finalists for the award were Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang.
Mollye Asher received the 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 23rd year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Krista Parris and Ryan Zacarias.
Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of Premature, received the Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 26th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant presented by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, a brand committed to celebrating those pushing the boundaries of their craft. Finalists for the award were Ash Mayfair, director of The Third Wife and Joe Talbot, director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
Nadia Shihab, director of Jaddoland, received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award is in its 25th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Khalik Allah, director of Black Mother, Davy Rothbart, director of 17 Blocks and Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside, directors of América.
Previous Spirit Awards grant winners include Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Someone to Watch Award), Effie T. Brown (Producers Award), Elizabeth Chai Vaserhelyi (Truer Than Fiction Award), Karin Chien (Producers Award), Justin Chon (Someone to Watch Award), Debra Granik (Bonnie Award), Bing Liu (Truer Than Fiction Award), Lynn Shelton (Someone to Watch Award), Nanfu Wang (Truer Than Fiction Award) and Chloe Zhaó (Bonnie Award).
“Today we celebrate the most talented emerging writers, producers and directors, working in fiction as well as non-fiction, with our Spirit Award Grants,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “With the Bonnie Award, we celebrate three of the most remarkable mid-career female filmmakers working today. Year-round, Film Independent is fiercely committed to champion inclusion, equality and diversity. We’re enormously proud of our Grant nominees and winners, as well as all the Spirit Award nominees.”
This year marks the 35th edition of the awards show that celebrates the best of independent film. Aubrey Plaza will host the show and Jon M. Chu is the 2020 Spirit Awards Honorary Chair.