The biggest thing at the 25th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards last Friday night was probably the event itself. The annual awards, which honor independent and specialty cinema, made some big changes for their Silver Anniversary, moving from its longtime home on the parking lot adjacent to Santa Monica Beach during Saturday afternoon before the Oscars. For this milestone year, the awards moved to Friday night atop a parking structure at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.
Many veteran attendees indieWIRE ran into said they liked the change and that it was “time to shake it up,” while others said the new venue made the Spirits akin to all other awards shows, losing some of the distinctiveness of being by the beach under sunshine.
Still, many of the usual components of the Spirits remained. The ceremony was held in a tent (albeit a much larger one) and there were a string of smaller sponsor-hosted tents including a place to get your Swag (if you have the right VIP pass). iW even noticed a staffer wheeling out to the car a large load of freebies for some lucky person who was no doubt not afraid to ask… And the ceremony itself still went for that casual vibe, though the song parodies was cut. And, had the Spirits taken place at its traditional Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica this year, the event would have had to contend with spontaneous downpours this year – so the outdoor sunshine would have been out.
Still, one thing definitely missed by a lot of people iW chatted with was the after-party. One nominee texted to say, “don’t bother coming,” and after arriving, it was obvious the vibe was a 180-degree turn from the previously anticipated IFC party at the Shutters Hotel on the beach. But, IFC didn’t sponsor the party this year so there it is… Anyway, screw the party, it’s ultimately about the honorees and here are some shots…