Kicking off the film awards season, IFP, the nation’s largest membership organization of independent filmmakers, last night announced the winners of the competitive awards at the 17th Annual Gotham Awards ceremony.
Established in 1991, the Gotham Awards are one of the leading awards for independent films and the first major honors of the film awards season.
By recognizing that the best films come from a place that is more firmly rooted in the grasp of filmmakers rather than ‘made by committee’ and are produced with an economy of means, the Gotham Awards provide a critical spotlight on worthy independent films such as last year’s Half Nelson, which went on to numerous awards and an Oscar nomination for its star, Ryan Gosling.
Competitive juried awards were presented for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Cast, and the Gothams’ trademark honor, Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You.
The awards took place for the first time at Brooklyn’s Steiner Studios, heart of New York City’s resurgent film industry.
Final award recipients were determined by separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers and others directly involved in making films, with the exception of the recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award. That film was determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP.
In addition to the juried awards, six Tributes were presented – to actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Love in the Time of Cholera), New York’s Honorable Mayor Michael Bloomberg, film critic Roger Ebert, production designer Mark Friedberg (Across the Universe, The Darjeeling Limited), IFC Entertainment President Jonathan Sehring, and filmmaker Mira Nair (The Namesake).
The ceremony was hosted by Sarah Jones, the Tony Award® winning playwright, actor, and poet whose multi-character solo show “Bridge & Tunnel” was originally produced Off-Broadway by Oscar winner Meryl Streep before moving to Broadway where it became a critically acclaimed, long running hit.
The Gothams will be broadcast locally on NYC TV (Channel 25) on December 4 at 9pm EST and aired nationally on satellite via the Documentary Channel on December 8 at 8pm EST. In addition, IFP is producing a one-hour documentary entitled Zoom In: Independent Stories from the 2007 Gotham Awards, which will include red carpet coverage, but more importantly, profiles and interviews with many of the nominees and tribute recipients . Written and produced by Mario Diaz, the film will be available on demand beginning December 10 and at no additional cost to Netflix’s 7 million subscribers.
Winners of IFP’s 17th Annual Gotham Awards:
Best Feature presented by Kyra Sedgwick
Into the Wild – Sean Penn, director; Sean Penn, Art Linson, Bill Pohlad, producers (Paramount Vantage & River Road Entertainment)
The Best Feature Jury included actors Benjamin Bratt and Kerry Washington, filmmaker Ryan Fleck, composer Mark Mothersbaugh and producer Ron Yerxa.
Best Documentary presented by Kerry Washington and Emile Hirsch
Sicko – Michael Moore, director; Michael Moore, Meghan O’Hara, producers (The Weinstein Company)
The Best Documentary Jury included filmmakers Bob Drew, Rory Kennedy, Jennie Livingston, Morgan Spurlock, and Marco Williams.
Breakthrough Director Award presented by Keri Russell
Craig Zobel for Great World of Sound (Magnolia Pictures)
The Breakthrough Director Jury included actor Vera Farmiga, director of photography Russell Fine, producer Mike Ryan, and filmmaker/actors John Cameron Mitchell and Mike White.
Breakthrough Actor Award presented by John Cameron Mitchell
Ellen Page in Juno(Fox Searchlight Pictures)
The Breakthrough Actor Jury included actors Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard, filmmaker Michael Cuesta, and casting director Sheila Jaffe.
Best Ensemble Cast Award presented by Sarah Jones
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – Albert Finney, Rosemary Harris, Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian F. O’Byrne, Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon, Marisa Tomei (THINKFilm)
Talk to Me – Cedric the Entertainer, Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mike Epps, Vondie Curtis Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Martin Sheen (Focus Features)
The Best Ensemble Cast Jury included actors Michael C. Hall and Parker Posey, filmmaker David Gordon Green, and casting director Ilene Starger.
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award presented by Marisa Tomei
Frownland – Ronald Bronstein, director; Marc Raybin, producer
The editors of Filmmaker, a magazine published by IFP, selected the winner of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award.