“Faces Places” took home top honors at the 2018 Indie Spirit Awards, winning the trophy for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda and the modern artist JR, “Faces Places” (“Visages Villages”) follows Varda and JR as they travel around rural France, taking portraits of people they meet. The film has picked up multiple awards since its debut out of competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, including the festival’s Golden Eye Award.
“Faces Places” beat out other nominees “Quest” (Jonathan Olshefski), “Last Men in Aleppo” (Feras Fayyad), “Motherland” (Ramona S. Diaz), and “The Departure” (Lana Wilson). It will compete against “Last Men in Aleppo” for the Academy Award Sunday night, as well as “Icarus,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” and “Strong Island.”
“They didn’t plan that you would be so short,” JR said to Varda as she struggled to reach the microphone on the podium. “We never planned as making it a film at the beginning… This started more independent than anything,” he added.
This win marks the first Indie Spirit Award for Varda and JR. In 2015, Varda became the first woman to receive an honorary Palme d’or, and she received the Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to cinema in 2017. Varda’s daughter, the producer Rosalie Varda, also accepted the award.
Different from the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards exclusively celebrate the best of independent cinema. Films must be made for less than $20 million in order to be eligible for the Indie Spirit Awards. The winners are voted on by Film Independent and IFP Members.
The 33rd Annual Spirit Awards were held in a beachfront tent next to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, March 3. Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney hosted the show for the second year in a row.