2005 Indie Spirit Awards: The Most Famous People in One Tent

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

On a day when many Hollywood hotshots snuck in one last mani-pedi or decided whether to go with the Prada or vintage Valentino, the independent film community gathered under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica for the 20th annual Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by the Independent Feature Project. On February 26, just one day before Oscar Sunday, Samuel L. Jackson took to the stage to oversee the festivities—and “Sideways” swept, winning all six awards for which the wine-drenched dramatic comedy was nominated.

Jackson joked about the progression of the event that used to be held in a restaurant. “We’ve only moved from a bad restaurant to a tent on the beach. My dream is that twenty years from now the Independent Spirit Awards will be held in an actual building,” he said. “Looking back, it seems that the only thing that hasn’t changed is Jim Jarmusch’s hair.”

Clad in more casual attire than at that other awards show, presenters like Kevin Bacon (nominated for best male performance in “The Woodsman” and wearing jeans) and Marisa Tomei (in the miniest of minidresses) handed out awards to the likes of Thomas Hayden Church, who won the first of “Sideways”‘ many honors, for best supporting actor. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the independent film community,” Church said, “because I gave my heart and soul to some small un-releasable films in the past and I want to thank Alex [Payne] for giving me another shot.”

When Paul Giamatti accepted his statue for best male lead, an honor many feel the actor was robbed of by the Academy, he said, “I’m really neither spirited or particularly independent, but it is awfully nice to be surrounded by folks who are.” “Sideways,” which presenter Robin Williams called “the way the country’s going,” also took home winged statues for best feature, best director, best screenplay, and best supporting actress for Virginia Madsen.

The award for best documentary went to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” At the podium, Berlinger said, “We’re so used to being on the loser list. This is really cool.”

Accepting the award for best foreign film, “The Sea Inside” director Alejandro Amenabar said, “I share this award with Javier Bardem, who said this is the best award of all, and he’s right.”

Zach Braff’s “Garden State” won the award for best first feature. Upon accepting the prize, the writer/director/star said, “All I ever wanted to do was make movies when I was a kid, so I guess this means I get to make more.”

Rodrigo de la Serna, who won the award for best debut performance for “The Motorcycle Diaries” was not there, giving audiences the opportunity to see his costar Gael Garcia Bernal onstage once again. The film also won the award for best cinematography. Director of photography Eric Gautier was not there either, so director Walter Salles accepted on his behalf.

There were three special grants of $20,000 awarded by event sponsors, including the Bravo/American Express Producers Award, which was awarded to Gina Kwon, producer of Miranda July’s Sundance favorite, “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” and the Direct TV/IFC Truer than Fiction Award, which was awarded to Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman for “Born into Brothels.”

When accepting the $20,000 Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award, “Chain” director Jem Cohen recounted a recent incident when he was filming the passing landscape from a train and the authorities confiscated his film. “I’ve been shooting landscapes from trains for as long as I’ve been making films. Documenting the world we live in is the very basis of my life of a filmmaker,” he said. “I think to be silent about such incidents, to pretend that they aren’t happening is disrespectful to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and to the independent spirit itself.”

Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” went home with best first screenplay and best female lead for Catalina Sandino Moreno. The John Cassavetes award went to Jacob Aaron Estes, a film that also won a special award for its ensemble cast. The entire group of young actors, including Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan ,Josh Peck, and Carly Schroeder were there to accept. Peck spoke for the group when he said, “This is definitely the most famous people I’ve ever seen in one tent.” He went on to thank the other cast members, the director, and all of their moms.

The Independent Spirit Awards are being rebroadcast on IFC throughout the week—a list of air times can be found here. This year, it seemed like the Oscars were trying to be more like the Independent Spirit Awards than the other way round—the New York Times lauded the freewheeling Indie Spirits here, while the LA Daily News talks to IFC’s own Evan Shapiro about how to hold an awards show people actually want to watch.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer):

“Sideways,” Producer: Michael London


Alexander Payne, “Sideways”


“Sideways,” Writers: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor


“Garden State,” Director: Zach Braff
Producers: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert, Dan Halsted, and Richard Klubeck


“Maria Full of Grace,” Writer: Joshua Marston

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for $500,000):

“Mean Creek,” Writer/Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Producers: Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE (Actors in their first significant role in a feature film):

Rodrigo de la Serna, “The Motorcycle Diaries”


Virginia Madsen, “Sideways”


Thomas Haden Church, “Sideways”


Catalina Sandino Moreno, “Maria Full of Grace”


Paul Giamatti, “Sideways”


“The Motorcycle Diaries,” Eric Gautier

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the Director):

“The Sea Inside” (Spain) Director: Alejandro Amenábar

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the Director):

“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” Directors: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky


Ensemble Cast: “Mean Creek”
Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Pec, Carly Schroeder

Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award:

Jem Cohen , director of “Chain”

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award:
Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman for “Born Into Brothels”

Bravo/American Express Producers Award:

Gina Kwon, producer of “The Good Girl” and “Me and You and Everyone We Know”


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.