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‘The Witch’ Wins 2017 Independent Spirit Award For Best First Feature

Robert Eggers takes home the prize for his horrifying debut, about a very unfortunate family of New England pilgrims.

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch

“The Witch”

At Saturday afternoon’s Independent Spirit Awards, writer-director Robert Eggers was handed the Best First Feature award for his debut, “The Witch.” Jenny Slate and Danny McBride took the stage to present the prize, with McBride joking that the duty was “a real pain in the ass,” and complaining that he and Slate weren’t allowed to give out the first award of the night.

Eggers, who had won the award for Best First Screenplay only a few minutes earlier, returned to the stage having already expressed most of his gratitude. All the same, he thanked his distributor A24, the Sundance Institute, Cinereach, and his collaborators before taking it all in and finishing with a simple: “This is amazing.”

“The Witch” is a horror film that tells the story of a family of New England pilgrims who are excommunicated from their 17th Century village and forced to live on the edge of some very haunted woods. It does not go well for them. The movie stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, and a very memorable goat.

Also nominated in the category were “The Childhood of a Leader,” “The Fits,” “Other People,” and “Swiss Army Man.”

READ MORE: 2017 Independent Spirit Awards Winners List: Every Winner Here

Last year’s award went to “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”

The 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards were hosted Saturday, February 25 by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in a temporary tent on a beach in Los Angeles. The annual ceremony honors the best in independent film as voted on by members of Film Independent and IFP.

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