“In America,” “American Splendor,” and “Raising Victor Vargas” Top Nominees for 2004 IFP Independent

"In America," "American Splendor," and "Raising Victor Vargas" Top Nominees for 2004 IFP Independent

“In America,” “American Splendor,” and “Raising Victor Vargas” Top Nominees for 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards

by Brian Brooks

Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine in Jim Sheridan’s “In America,” which led the 2004 Spirit Awards nominations with six nods. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

Jim Sheridan’s “In America,” Shari Springer Berman and Robert
Pulcini’s “American Splendor,”
and Peter Sollet’s “Raising Victor
topped the list of nominees for the 2004 IFP Independent
Spirit Awards,
which were announced this morning in Los Angeles. Also in
the running for honors is Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,”
which received four nominations including best picture and best director as
well as Billy Ray’s “Shattered Glass,” also named in four categories
including best picture and best screenplay (Billy Ray).

Nominations were announced for best feature, best first feature, best
first screenplay, best director, best screenplay, the John Cassavetes
award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), best
male lead, best female lead, best supporting male, best supporting female,
best debut performance, best cinematography, best foreign film, and best
documentary. “In America” led the pack six nominations including best
feature and best director, while “American Splendor,” winner of the
Sundance 2003 Grand Jury prize, has five nominations, also including
best feature and best director. Also vying for the best feature and best
director prizes is “Raising Victor Vargas” which received a total of five
nominations. Gus Van Sant’s Cannes 2003 Palme d’Or winner
“Elephant” received two nominations including best director (Van Sant
also received the best director prize this year in Cannes) as well as for
best cinematography (Harris Savides).

Three directors were named to compete for this year’s Turning Leaf
Someone to Watch award, which includes a $20,000 unrestricted grant.
Nominees in the category are Andrew Bujalski for “Funny Ha Ha,”
Ben Coccio
for “Zero Day,” and Ryan Eslinger for
“Madness and Genius.” Additionally, the 2004 Spirit Awards
nominations committee will honor Alejandro González
Iñárritu’s “21 Grams”
with a special distinction award
“for uniqueness of vision, bold conception and direction.” Because of Spirit
Awards guidelines, the film was not eligible for nominations in individual
categories because the film’s budget exceeded the committee’s interpretation
of the IFP’s criteria of “economy of means.” [Iñárritu
previously told indieWIRE the film’s budget was around $20 million.]

“There’s a wide spectrum of filmmaking [with] voices that are personal
and original,” commented Dawn Hudson, executive director of IFP/Los
Angeles in a conversation with indieWIRE. “The spectrum of filmmaking is
wider than in past years [which] shows that independent filmmakers have the
confidence to take on [unique] genres.”

Producer Jeff Kleeman chaired this year’s 11-member nominations
committee. In order to be considered, submitted films must have screened at
a commercial theater during the 2003 calendar year, or have played at one of
the following seven festivals: IFP Los Angeles Film Festival, New
Directors/New Films, New York, Seattle, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.
Winners for the IFP Independent Spirit Awards are voted on by the IFP’s
9,000 national members. The awards will take place in Santa Monica on
Saturday, February 28, 2004, one day prior to the 2004 Academy Awards.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)

* Executive Producers are not listed.

American Splendor

Producer: Ted Hope

In America

Producers: Jim Sheridan, Arthur Lappin

Lost in Translation

Producers: Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz

Raising Victor Vargas

Producers: Alain de la Mata, Robin O’Hara, Scott Macaulay, Peter Sollett

Shattered Glass

Producers: Craig Baumgarten, Tove Christensen, Gaye Hirsch, Adam Merims


American Splendor

Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini

Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola

In America

Jim Sheridan

Raising Victor Vargas

Peter Sollett


Gus Van Sant


American Splendor

Writers: Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini

Lost in Translation

Writer: Sofia Coppola

A Mighty Wind

Writers: Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy and the cast of A Mighty Wind

Pieces of April

Writer: Peter Hedges

Shattered Glass

Writer: Billy Ray

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the Director and Producer)

Bomb the System

Director: Adam Bhala Lough

Producers: Ben Rekhi, Sol Tryon

House of Sand and Fog

Director: Vadim Perelman

Producers: Michael London, Vadim Perelman


Director: Patty Jenkins

Producers: Mark Damon, Donald Kushner, Clark Peterson, Charlize Theron, Brad

Quattro Noza

Director: Joey Curtis

Producer: Fredric King


Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Producers: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Michael London


(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the
Writer, Director, and Producer)

* Executive Producers are not listed.

Anne B. Real

Director: Lisa France

Writers: Lisa France, Antonio Macia

Producers: Josselyne Herman, Luis Moro, Jeanine Rohn

Better Luck Tomorrow

Director: Justin Lin

Writers: Ernesto M. Foronda, Justin Lin, Fabian Marquez

Producers: Julie Asato, Ernesto M. Foronda, Justin Lin

Pieces of April

Writer/Director: Peter Hedges

Producers: Alexis Alexanian, John S. Lyons, Gary Winick

The Station Agent

Writer/Director: Thomas McCarthy

Producers: Mary Jane Skalski, Robert May, Kathryn Tucker


Writer/Director: Deborah Kampmeier

Producer: Sarah Schenck


Blue Car

Writer: Karen Moncrieff


Writer: Patty Jenkins

Raising Victor Vargas

Writers: Peter Sollett and Eva Vives

The Station Agent

Writer: Thomas McCarthy


Writers: Catherine Hardwicke & Nikki Reed


Agnes Bruckner

Blue Car

Zooey Deschanel

All the Real Girls

Samantha Morton

In America

Elisabeth Moss


Charlize Theron



Peter Dinklage

The Station Agent

Paul Giamatti

American Splendor

Sir Ben Kingsley

House of Sand and Fog

Bill Murray

Lost in Translation

Lee Pace

Soldier’s Girl


Shohreh Aghdashloo

House of Sand and Fog

Sarah Bolger

In America

Patricia Clarkson

Pieces of April

Hope Davis

The Secret Lives of Dentists

Frances McDormand

Laurel Canyon


Judah Friedlander

American Splendor

Troy Garity

Soldier’s Girl

Djimon Hounsou

In America

Alessandro Nivola

Laurel Canyon

Peter Sarsgaard

Shattered Glass

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE (Actors in their first significant role in a feature film)

Anna Kendrick


Judy Marte

Raising Victor Vargas

Victor Rasuk

Raising Victor Vargas

Nikki Reed


Janice Richardson

Anne B. Real



Harris Savides

In America

Declan Quinn


M. David Mullen

Quattro Noza

Derek Cianfrance

Shattered Glass

Mandy Walker

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the Director)

City of God – (Brazil)

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Lilya 4-Ever – (Denmark)

Director: Lukas Moodysson

The Magdalene Sisters – (England/Ireland)

Director: Peter Mullan

The Triplets of Belleville – (France)

Director: Sylvian Chomet

Whale Rider (New Zealand)

Director: Niki Caro

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the Director)

The Fog of War

Director: Errol Morris

Mayor of the Sunset Strip

Director: George Hickenlooper

My Architect

Director: Nathaniel Kahn

OT: our town

Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy

Power Trip

Director: Paul Devlin


Turning Leaf Someone To Watch Award

Andrew Bujalski, director of Funny Ha Ha

Ben Coccio, director of Zero Day

Ryan Eslinger, director of Madness and Genius

DIRECTV / IFC Truer Than Fiction Award

Linda Goode Bryant, director of Flag Wars

Linda Goode Bryant is an award-winning producer, writer, and director of documentaries and experimental shorts and installations. Ms. Bryant co-produced, directed, and edited Flag Wars (2003), a cinema verite documentary that launched the 2003 POV season on PBS. Ms. Bryant is currently in development on The Vote, a cinema verite look at America’s 2004 presidential primaries and election from two distinct perspectives – from the point of view of voters and from the point of view of those working inside the process – to observe the effect campaigning, organizing, demonstrations, and media have on voters and, non-voters, come Election Day. Ms. Bryant’s other work includes Hurricane Teens, a segment on Split Screen, a weekly cable television show aired on BRAVO/The Independent Film Channel; My Am, an experimental narrative, and The Business of Being an Artist, a documentary on the impact the art market has on artists and their creativity.

Laura Poitras, director of Flag Wars

Laura Poitras is a New York-based documentary filmmaker. In addition to Flag Wars , she also just completed Oh say can you see. Since 1996 she has worked as a freelance editor for HBO, IFC, and BRAVO. She was also the Associate Producer for Free Tibet a music documentary.

Nathaniel Kahn (Director/Producer)

Nathaniel Kahn grew up in Philadelphia and attended Yale University on a scholarship, where he was awarded the Gordon Prize for his work as a theater director. In 1989, Mr. Kahn wrote and directed a play, “Owl’s Breath,” which was presented off-Broadway. In 1992, he co-wrote The Room, a short dramatic film about a boy whose room falls out of a building. The Room screened at the Sundance Film Festival and won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.

An active environmentalist, Mr. Kahn also spent several years collaborating with Miranda Productions on a number of environmentally themed documentaries including, My Father’s Garden, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast by the Sundance Channel, and Wilderness: The Last Stand, which was broadcast by PBS. After several years of fund-raising, he was able to embark on the making of My Architect, his first feature-length film.

Robb Moss, director of The Same River Twice

Robb Moss is an independent, non-fiction filmmaker whose work has shown at the Telluride Film Festival, the Cinéma du Réel in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has shot films in Ethiopia, Liberia, Greece, Mexico, Hungary, Japan, Turkey, Nicaragua and the Gambia. Many of these films on such subjects as famine, genocide and the large-scale structure of the universe have been broadcast nationally. He is the past board chair and president of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) and has taught filmmaking at Harvard University for the past 15 years.

Megan Mylan, director of Lost Boys of Sudan

Megan Mylan is a San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker. Her film Batidania on Brazilian resistance music, won Best Documentary at the Marin Latino Film Festival. Mylan has collaborated on documentaries for PBS, HBO, Showtime and the BBC including Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffmann’s Long Night’s Journey Into Day, 2000 Academy Award

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