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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”

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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