Independent Spirit Awards

Last updated

Independent Spirit Awards
Current: 36th Independent Spirit Awards
Spirit Awards Trophy.png
Awarded forExcellence in the independent film industry
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Presented byFilm Independent [1]
First awardedMarch 3, 1984; 36 years ago

The Independent Spirit Awards [2] (abbreviated "Spirit Awards" and originally known as the FINDIE or Friends of Independents Awards), founded in 1984, [3] are awards dedicated to independent filmmakers. [4] [5] Winners were typically presented with acrylic glass pyramids containing suspended shoestrings representing the bare budgets of independent films. Since 2006, winners have received a metal trophy depicting a bird with its wings spread sitting atop of a pole with the shoestrings from the previous design wrapped around the pole.


In 1986, the event was renamed the Independent Spirit Awards. Now called the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the show is produced by Film Independent, a not-for-profit arts organization that used to produce the LA Film Festival. Film Independent members vote to determine the winners of the Spirit Awards. [6]

The awards show is held inside a tent in a parking lot at the beach in Santa Monica, California, usually on the day before the Academy Awards (since 1999; originally the Saturday before). [7] The show is broadcast live on the IFC network, [8] as well as Hollywood Suite in Canada and A&E Latin America. [9]

In 2020, new categories were announced for the upcoming 36th Independent Spirit Awards to awards the best in television productions and performances, these categories are Best New Scripted Series, Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, Best Male Performance, Best Female Performance, and Best Ensemble Cast. [10]



The Independent Features Project/West was founded by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas. [11] [12]

In 1984 the FINDIE Awards (Friends of Independents) were conceived by Independent Features Project/West board member Jeanne Lucas [13] and Independent Features Project/West President Anne Kimmel [14] and director/writer Sam O'Brien was an event producer. [13] The awards are voted on by a nominating committee.

In 1985, Peter Coyote and Jamie Lee Curtis presented winners with a Plexiglas pyramid designed by Carol Bosselman, which contain a suspended shoestring, printed with sprocket holes, representing the shoestring budgets of independent films. The Reel Gold Award, also designed by Bosselman, was given to Steve Wachtel for allowing Independent Features Project/West continuing free use of his screening room. It was associated with Filmex. [3] In 1986, Bosselman designed and sculpted the Independent Spirit Award statue that is still given out today, using a lost wax bronze casting method.

Independent Features Project/West eventually became Film Independent. [15]

Dawn Hudson was director of Independent Features Project/West in 1995. [16]

Barbara Boyle was Independent Features Project/West president from 1994 to 1999. [17]

Independent Features Project eventually became Independent Filmmaker Project.


#DateYear HonoredBest FilmBest First FeatureHost(s)
1st March 22, 1986 1985 After Hours Peter Coyote
2nd March 28, 1987 1986 Platoon She's Gotta Have It Buck Henry
3rd February 11, 1988 1987 River's Edge Dirty Dancing
4th March 25, 1989 1988 Stand and Deliver Mystic Pizza
5th March 24, 1990 1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Heathers
6th March 23, 1991 1990 The Grifters Metropolitan
7th March 28, 1992 1991 Rambling Rose Straight Out of Brooklyn
8th March 27, 1993 1992 The Player Reservoir Dogs
9th March 19, 1994 1993 Short Cuts El Mariachi Robert Townsend
10th March 25, 1995 1994 Pulp Fiction Spanking the Monkey Kevin Pollak
11th March 23, 1996 1995 Leaving Las Vegas The Brothers McMullen Samuel L. Jackson
12th March 22, 1997 1996 Fargo Sling Blade
13th March 21, 1998 1997 The Apostle Eve's Bayou John Turturro
14th March 20, 1999 1998 Gods and Monsters The Opposite of Sex Queen Latifah
15th March 25, 2000 1999 Election Being John Malkovich (Over $500,000)
The Blair Witch Project (Under $500,000)
Jennifer Tilly
16th March 24, 2001 2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon You Can Count On Me
Chuck & Buck (Under $500,000)
John Waters
17th March 23, 2002 2001 Memento In the Bedroom
18th March 22, 2003 2002 Far from Heaven The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
19th February 28, 2004 2003 Lost in Translation Monster
20th February 26, 2005 2004 Sideways Garden State Samuel L. Jackson
21st March 4, 2006 2005 Brokeback Mountain Crash Sarah Silverman
22nd February 24, 2007 2006 Little Miss Sunshine Sweet Land
23rd February 23, 2008 2007 Juno The Lookout Rainn Wilson
24th February 21, 2009 2008 The Wrestler Synecdoche, New York Steve Coogan
25th March 5, 2010 2009 Precious Crazy Heart Eddie Izzard
26th February 26, 2011 2010 Black Swan Get Low Joel McHale
27th February 25, 2012 2011 The Artist Margin Call Seth Rogen
28th February 23, 2013 2012 Silver Linings Playbook The Perks of Being a Wallflower Andy Samberg
29th March 1, 2014 2013 12 Years a Slave Fruitvale Station Patton Oswalt
30th February 21, 2015 2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Nightcrawler Fred Armisen, Kristen Bell
31st February 27, 2016 2015 Spotlight The Diary of a Teenage Girl Kate McKinnon, Kumail Nanjiani
32nd February 25, 2017 2016 Moonlight The Witch Nick Kroll, John Mulaney
33rd March 3, 2018 2017 Get Out Ingrid Goes West
34th February 23, 2019 2018 If Beale Street Could Talk Sorry to Bother You Aubrey Plaza
35th February 8, 2020 2019 The Farewell Booksmart
36th April 22, 2021 2020 Nomadland Sound of Metal Melissa Villaseñor

See also

Related Research Articles

Darren Aronofsky American Filmmaker

Darren Aronofsky is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His films are noted for their surreal, melodramatic, and often disturbing elements, often based in psychological horror and drama.

Ally Sheedy American actress and author

Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy is an American actress and author. Following her film debut in 1983's Bad Boys, she became known as one of the Brat Pack group of actors in the films The Breakfast Club (1985) and St. Elmo's Fire (1985). She also acted in WarGames (1983) and Short Circuit (1986). For her performance in Lisa Cholodenko's High Art (1998), Sheedy won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.

Kimberly Peirce American film director

Kimberly Ane Peirce is an American filmmaker best known for her debut feature film, Boys Don't Cry (1999), which won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Hilary Swank's performance. Her second feature, Stop-Loss, was released by Paramount Pictures in 2008. Her most recent feature film, Carrie, was released on October 18, 2013. She is a governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a National Board member of the Director's Guild of America.

Larry Fessenden American actor and filmmaker

Laurence T. Fessenden is an American actor, producer, writer, director, film editor, and cinematographer. He is the founder of the New York based independent production outfit Glass Eye Pix. His writer/director credits include No Telling, Habit (1997), Wendigo (2001), and The Last Winter, which is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum Of Modern Art. He has also directed the television feature Beneath (2013), an episode of the NBC TV series Fear Itself (2008) entitled "Skin and Bones", and a segment of the anthology horror-comedy film The ABCs of Death 2 (2014). He is the writer, with Graham Reznick, of the BAFTA Award-winning Sony PlayStation video game Until Dawn. He has acted in numerous films including Like Me (2017), In a Valley of Violence (2016), We Are Still Here (2015), Jug Face (2012), and Broken Flowers (2005).

James Marsh (director) British film and documentary director (born 1963)

James Marsh is a British film and documentary director best known for his work on Man on Wire, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and The Theory of Everything, the multi-award-winning biopic of physicist Stephen Hawking released in 2014.

Sean Baker (filmmaker)

Sean Baker is an American film director, cinematographer, producer, screenwriter and editor. He is best known for the independent feature films Starlet, Tangerine, and The Florida Project, as well as his involvement in the Fox/IFC puppet sitcom Greg the Bunny and its spin-offs.

Stuart Hazeldine is a British screenwriter, film producer and director. He is best known for his 2009 psychological thriller Exam, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. He also directed the 2017 film adaptation of William P. Young's novel The Shack. He currently resides in London.

Patrick Creadon

Patrick Creadon is an American filmmaker primarily known for his work in documentaries. His first film, Wordplay, profiled New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The film screened in over 500 theatres nationwide and became the second-highest grossing documentary of that year. His second film, I.O.U.S.A., is a non-partisan examination of America's national debt problem and forecast the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. I.O.U.S.A. premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was later named one of the Top 5 Documentaries of the Year by film critic Roger Ebert.

Portlandia is an American sketch comedy television series starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, set in and around Portland, Oregon, and spoofing the city's reputation as a haven for eccentric hipsters. The show was produced by Broadway Video Television and IFC Original Productions. It was created by Armisen and Brownstein, along with Jonathan Krisel, who directs it. It debuted on IFC on January 21, 2011.

Elizabeth Olsen American actress

Elizabeth Chase Olsen is an American actress. Her breakthrough came in 2011 when she starred in the independent thriller drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, for which she was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, among other awards. She subsequently starred in the films Silent House (2011), Liberal Arts (2012), Oldboy (2013), Godzilla (2014), I Saw the Light (2015), Wind River (2017), and Ingrid Goes West (2017). In television, she executive produced and starred in the series Sorry for Your Loss (2018–2019), for which she was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award.

Margaret Brown (film director) American film director

Margaret Luce Brown is an American film director.

<i>Medicine for Melancholy</i>

Medicine for Melancholy is a 2008 independent romantic drama film written and directed by Barry Jenkins. The film stars Wyatt Cenac, Tracey Heggins, and Elizabeth Acker.

<i>Frozen II</i> 2019 film by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Frozen II is a 2019 American computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The 58th animated film produced by the studio, it is the sequel to the 2013 film Frozen. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee from a screenplay by Lee, produced by Peter Del Vecho, and executive-produced by Byron Howard, the film stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff.

Eliza Hittman American film director

Eliza Hittman is an American screenwriter, film director, and producer from New York City.

Jen McGowan is an American filmmaker. At the 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival, McGowan won the Gamechanger Award for Kelly & Cal, her first feature film. McGowan is the creator of, an international skill-sharing, networking and job resource for professional women in film and television. She is an honorary member of the Alliance of Women Directors.

Samantha Fish American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter

Samantha Fish is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist originally from Kansas City, Missouri. While often cited as a blues artist, Fish's albums and live shows feature multiple genres, including rock, country, funk, bluegrass and ballads.

Abraham Attah Ghanaian actor

Abraham Nii Attah is a Ghanaian actor, living in the Unites States. He hails from the Ga–Dangme ethnic group in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. He made his feature film debut in Beasts of No Nation (2015). For his leading role of child soldier Agu, he was awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

Josh Mond

Josh Mond is an American film director, screenwriter and producer. He is known for producing the feature films Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) and Simon Killer (2012), and for writing and directing James White (2015).

The 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards, honoring the best independent films of 2016, were presented by Film Independent on February 25, 2017. The ceremony was hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney and broadcast live on IFC at 2:00 pm PT. Online streaming service Sundance Now live-streamed the Spirit Awards concurrently with the telecast, with an on-demand version available on Sundance Now. The nominees were announced on November 22, 2016.

The 33rd Film Independent Spirit Awards, honoring the best independent films of 2017, were presented by Film Independent on March 3, 2018. The nominations were announced on November 21, 2017 by actresses Lily Collins and Tessa Thompson. The ceremony was televised in the United States by IFC, taking place inside its usual tent setting on a beach in Santa Monica, California. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney returned to host the ceremony for the second time.


  1. "Film Independent". Archived from the original on June 9, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  2. "History - Film Independent". Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  3. 1 2 Collins, Keith (February 25, 2005). "Independence days". Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  4. Picker, David V. (2004), "The Film Company as Financier-Distributor", in Jason E. Squire (ed.), The movie business book, Simon & Schuster, ISBN   978-0-7432-1937-2, OCLC   53953524 , retrieved September 29, 2011
  5. English, James F. (2008), "The Age of Awards", The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value, United States of America: Harvard University Press, p. 86, ISBN   978-0-674-03043-5, OCLC   221175319 , retrieved September 29, 2011
    provides alternative start date as 1986, not 1984
  6. Sickels, Robert (2009), "Coveted Awards", The Business of Entertainment: Movies, United States of America: Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 141, ISBN   978-0-275-99840-0, OCLC   644042790 , retrieved September 28, 2011
  7. Steele, Bruce C. (February 28, 2006), "It's Ang Lee vs. Gregg Araki!", The Advocate , Here Media, p. 49, retrieved September 28, 2011
  8. Film Independent Spirit Awards, IFC, archived from the original on May 22, 2011, retrieved September 28, 2011. Citation supporting televised on IFC in 2011.
  9. "A&E Latinoamérica". Archived from the original on June 3, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  10. "Film Independent Spirit Awards Adds TV Categories For Upcoming 2021 Program". Deadline. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  11. "Familiar names top Indie awards - Roger Ebert's Journal". Archived from the original on May 17, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  12. Page, Anna Thomas Tribute (August 10, 2009). "A Tribute to Anna Thomas: Biography for Anna Thomas". Archived from the original on October 14, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  13. 1 2 FOX, DAVID J. (March 27, 1992). "The Little Award Show That Could : Film: Since it started in the '80s, the Independent Spirit Awards, sort of an offbeat Oscar, has gained big-name supporters. Saturday's ceremony is sold out". Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on October 23, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  14. FOX, DAVID J. (March 30, 1992). "'Rose' and 'Idaho' Get the Spirit : Movies: Each takes three trophies in the offbeat independent counterpoint to tonight's Academy Awards". Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "The Oscars Upstaged (Almost)". The New York Times . March 19, 1995. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  17. "Producer Barbara Boyle to Head UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media". Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.