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John Cassavetes Award
WRITER/DIRECTOR Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS Houston King / Alex Lipschultz
Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers circa 1980, Computer Chess transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.
WRITER/DIRECTOR Sebastián Silva
PRODUCERS Juan de Dios Larraín / Pablo Larraín
When Jamie invites a complete stranger to come along on a road trip to the north of Chile with his Chilean friend Champa and two of his younger brothers, he fails to realize that this woman–a fellow American who goes by the name of Crystal Fairy–is ready and willing to accept any invitation that comes her way. Jamie’s acidic and self-absorbed personality clashes with Crystal Fairy’s free and esoteric nature, as all five of them head into the Atacama Desert with the concise mission of drinking a San Pedro cactus for a mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. As the journey unfolds and the traveling companions get to know each other better, Jamie learns that he must be more accepting of others, while Crystal finds the way to accepting herself.
WRITER/DIRECTOR/EDITOR/PRODUCER Jem Cohen
PRODUCERS Paolo Calamita / Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Museum Hours is a mesmerizing tale of two adrift strangers who find refuge in Vienna’s grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum. Johann, a museum guard, spends his days silently observing both the art and the visitors. Anne, suddenly called to Vienna from overseas, has been wandering the city in a state of limbo. A chance meeting sparks a deepening connection that draws them through the halls of the museum and the streets of the city. The exquisitely photographed Museum Hours is an ode to the bonds of friendship, an exploration of an unseen Vienna, and the power of art to both mirror and alter our lives.
WRITER/DIRECTOR Yen Tan
WRITER David Lowery
PRODUCERS Jonathan Duffy / James M. Johnston / Eric Steele / Kelly Williams
Pit Stop takes a subtle and eloquent approach in telling the parallel stories of two gay men in a small Texas town. There’s Gabe: a contractor who’s getting over an ill-fated affair with a married man and finds solace in the relationship he still harbors with his ex-wife, Shannon, and their daughter, Cindy; and there’s Ernesto: a Hispanic lumber yard worker in the midst of splitting up with his live-in boyfriend, Luis, as he receives news from the hospital that his former love, Martin, is in a coma. At the end, when Gabe and Ernesto meet for a one-nighter–having endured all the struggles and heartbreaks and wondering if they’ll ever find love again–they face the possibility that they might just be meant for each other.
This Is Martin Bonner
WRITER/DIRECTOR Chad Hartigan
PRODUCER Cherie Saulter
Two men search, in their quiet solitude, to begin a new life amidst an unspoken need for encouragement and support. Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno from the East Coast, leaving behind his two adult children and a life he spent more than two decades building. Having recently declared bankruptcy, he’s working a new job as a volunteer helping prisoners transition to freedom. It’s Martin’s first job in two years. Travis Holloway, a recently released prisoner sent back into the world with nothing, also finds life difficult to adjust to.
The lives and stories of Martin and Travis begin to converge as they find that they have much in common. Their unlikely friendship blossoms but is put to the test when Travis betrays Martin’s trust.
Watch Fred and Kristen Bell host the Spirit Awards LIVE tonight 5p ET, followed by an encore at 10p.
The 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards air LIVE on Sat, Feb 21 5p ET/2p PT
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