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HOW SWEET IT IS

by
in Filmmaking
on Nov 28, 2006

Looking through the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards I’m very happy to see Ali Selim’s Sweet Land nominated for Best First Feature and Best Female Lead for Elizabeth Reaser. Since I saw it premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival (where it won the Audience Award) in 2005 I’ve been a big fan. Set in a turbulent post-WWI America, Reaser gives a gripping performance as a German immigrant sent to Minnesota for an arranged marriage and hope for a better life and David Tumblety’s camera work of the Northwestern plains are breathtaking.

The film had to go the self-distribution route (with the help of Jeff Lipsky) and got glowing reviews from the likes of EW, The Village Voice, and The New York Times, and hopefully this recognition will bring more good fortune. Check out their website for theater listings.

Here’s the full list of the 2007 Independent Spirit Award nominees:

BEST FEATURE
American Gun
The Dead Girl
Half Nelson
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan’s Labyrinth

BEST DIRECTOR
Robert Altman, “A Prairie Home Companion”
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Ryan Fleck, “Half Nelson”
Karen Moncrieff, “The Dead Girl”
Steven Soderbergh, “Bubble”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Day Night Day Night- Director: Julia Loktev
Man Push- Cart Director: Ramin Bahrani
The Motel- Director: Michael Kang
Sweet Land- Director: Ali Selim
Wristcutters: A Love Story- Director: Goran Dukic

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
“Chalk”- Director: Mike Akel
“Four Eyed Monsters”- Writer/Director/Producers: Arin Crumley & Susan Buice
“Old Joy”- Director: Kelly Reichardt
“Quinceanera”- Writer/Directors: Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland
“Twelve and Holding”- Director: Michael Cuesta

BEST SCREENPLAY
Neil Burger, “The Illusionist”
Nicole Holofcener, “Friends with Money”
Ron Nyswaner, “The Painted Veil”
Jason Reitman, “Thank You For Smoking”
Jeff Stanzler, “Sorry, Haters”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Michael Arndt, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, “Half Nelson”
Goran Dukic, “Wristcutters: A Love Story”
Dito Montiel, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints”
Gabrielle Zevin, “Conversations with Other Women”

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Shareeka Epps, “Half Nelson”
Catherine O’Hara, “For Your Consideration”
Elizabeth Reaser, “Sweet Land”
Michelle Williams, “Land of Plenty”
Robin Wright Penn, “Sorry, Haters”

BEST MALE LEAD
Aaron Eckhart, “Thank You For Smoking”
Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”
Edward Norton, “The Painted Veil”
Ahmad Razvi, “Man Push Cart”
Forest Whitaker, “American Gun”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Melonie Diaz, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints”
Marcia Gay Harden, “American Gun”
Mary Beth Hurt, “The Dead Girl”
Frances McDormand, “Friends with Money”
Amber Tamblyn, “Stephanie Daley”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Raymond J. Barry, “Steel City”
Daniel Craig, “Infamous”
Paul Dano, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Channing Tatum, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arin Crumley, “Four Eyed Monsters”
Anthony Dod Mantle, “Brothers of the Head”
Guillermo Navarro, “Pan’s Labyrinth”
Aaron Platt, “Wild Tigers I Have Known”
Michael Simmonds, “Man Push Cart”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“A Lion in the House”- Directors: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
“My Country, My Country”- Director: Laura Poitras
“The Road to Guantanamo”- Directors: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross
“The Trials of Darryl Hunt”- Directors: Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern
“You’re Gonna Miss Me”- Director: Keven McAlester

BEST FOREIGN FILM
“12:08 East of Bucharest”- Director: Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania)
“The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros”- Director: Auraeus Solito (Philippines)
“Chronicle of an Escape”- Director: Israel Adrian Caetano (Argentina)
“Days of Glory”- Director: Rachid Bouchareb (France/Morocco/Algeria/Belgium)
“The Lives of Others”- Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Germany)

FILMMAKER GRANT NOMINEES
The 13th annual IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award
The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant, funded by IFC and Acura.
So Yong Kim, director of “In Between Days”
Julia Loktev, director of “Day Night Day Night”
Richard Wong, director of “Colma: The Musical”

The 11th annnual Axium Truer Than Fiction Award
The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant funded by Axium International.
Adele Horn for The “Tailenders”
Eric Daniel Metzgar for “The Chances of the World Changing”
AJ Schnack for “Kurt Cobain About A Son”

The 10th annual Axium Producers Award
The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Axium International.
Julie Lynn, producer of “Nine Lives” and “10 Items or Less”
Alex Orlovsky and Jamie Patricof, producers of “Half Nelson” and “Point & Shoot”
Howard Gertler and Tim Perell, producers of “Shortbus” and “Pizza”

SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD
David Lynch, Laura Dern
In recognition of their collaborative work in “Inland Empire” as well as the influential independent classics “Blue Velvet” and “Wild at Heart”.

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A Publication of IPF