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2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards Expand to Honor Television

The 2021 Spirit Awards will air on IFC on April 24, 2021.

"Normal People"

“Normal People”


Consider it television finally getting its due. Film Independent announced Tuesday that it would be expanding its awards slate for the 2021 Independent Spirit Awards, adding six categories recognizing TV and episodic work alongside its long-established film honors.

“The independent, diverse creators we’ve supported for decades now straddle the feature and episodic worlds,” Board Chair Mary Sweeney said in a statement. “Our mission supports and celebrates visual storytellers wherever they practice their craft. The addition of the TV Spirit Awards recognizes this expansion by celebrating diverse independent, creative voices across platforms.”

In many ways, the move has been a long time coming, with Film Independent introducing TV and episodic work in its year-round programs, including Education, Artist Development, as well as its screening program, Film Independent Presents.

Not everything is changing for next year’s event, however, with the organization announcing that the awards will again air on IFC, who has broadcast the festivities since 1994.

“2020 has been a year of endless change and chaos, so it’s wonderful to be back with our friends at IFC,” Josh Welsh, Film Independent President said in a release. “As tough as this year has been, there’s so much great filmmaking and yes, television, that has sustained us throughout the pandemic. We look forward to celebrating that work at the Spirit Awards in April.”

Executive Director of IFC and SundanceTV Blake Callaway added: “2020 provides an opportunity for a re-imagined Spirit Awards and just about everything else. Expanding the most entertaining stop on the awards circuit to include television is just the start, and IFC is looking forward to a continued partnership with our friends at Film Independent.”

Those looking to submit to the Spirit Awards have an early deadline of October 13, regular deadline of October 27, final deadline of November 17, with an extended Film Independent Member Deadline of November 20. Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. The 36th Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

“The Film Independent nominations process is a unique and inspiring one,” Setu Raval, Associate Director of Nominations said. “It is an inclusive gathering of filmmakers, programmers, critics and performers with the common goal to curate and celebrate bold, diverse, authentic and innovative visual storytelling. We are excited to open the 2021 Spirit Awards Submissions.”

The 2021 Spirit Awards will honor artist-driven storytellers across 20 categories as follows:

New TV Awards:

· Best New Scripted Series

· Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series

· Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series

· Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series

· Best Ensemble Cast in a Scripted Series

Feature Film Awards:

· Best Feature

· Best First Feature

· Best Director

· Best Screenplay

· Best First Screenplay

· John Cassavetes Award

· Best Male Lead

· Best Female Lead

· Best Supporting Male

· Best Supporting Female

· Best Cinematography

· Best Editing

· Robert Altman Award

· Best International Film

· Best Documentary

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