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2007 Indie Spirit Nominations: Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Underrated, overlooked, and mostly unknown, I’ve decided to highlight my four favorite award sections separately from today’s lengthy list of Indie Spirit noms. Why? because a). I haven’t heard of half these films and want to further research them, b). I want to add the missing titles to the database and c). I think it’s in the best interests of indie film lovers to familiarize themselves with the budding/future talent.

Commencing with the John Cassavetes award noms (the name of this section says it all) which is given to the best feature made for under $500,000; and followed by the noms for my favorite category the Someone to Watch Award and the listings for the Truer Than Fiction Award the Producers Award.

August Evening is a two-time nominee thanks to the votes going to actor Pedro Castaneda. Owl and the Sparrow was actually nominated at the Gotham Awards but lucked out, while The Pool was a little title among giants a the last Sundance film fest. Quiet City is part of the mumblecore breed and was featured in the late summer/early fall at the IFC in NYC. Finally, Jeff Nicholls' Shotgun Stories has had a great deal of international film circuit success – our own Laura Davies was floored by the picture.

John Cassavetes Award:


August Evening
Writer/Director: Chris Eska
Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Owl and the Sparrow
Writer/Director: Stephane Gauger
Producers: Nguyen Van Quan, Doan Nhat
Nam, Stephane Gauger

The Pool
Director: Chris Smith
Producer: Kate Noble
Writer: Chris Smith & Randy Russell

Quiet City
Director: Aaron Katz
Producers: Brendan McFadden, Ben Stambler
Writers: Aaron Katz, Erin Fisher, Cris Lankenau

Shotgun Stories
Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols
Producers: David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Jeff Nichols

Someone to Watch Award:

The 14th annual IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. I can vouch for Ramin Bahrani (right) – I've been a fan since Man Push Cart and thought his Chop Shop was among the best films from the last Cannes edition. In the middle we have Ronnie Bronstein who has also received attention for Frownland at the Gotham awards – for the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You category. Left: Lee Isaac Chung's Munyurangabo played out well on the world fest circuit and locally. The IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee is Scott Foundas (Chair), Effie T. Brown, Lisa Kennedy, Bryan Poyser, Maud Nadler. 

Truer Than Fiction Award

The 12th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention:

Laura Dunn for The Unforeseen
Gary Hustwit for Helvetica
John Maringouin for Running Stumbled

Truer Than Fiction Award Nominating Committee:
John Vanco (Chair), Cara Mertes, A.J. Schnack, Dennis Lim, Laura Poitras

Producers Award

The 11th annual Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films:

Anne Clements, producer of Ping Pong Playa and Quinceañera
Alexis Ferris, producer of Cthulhu and Police Beat
Neil Kopp, producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy

Producers Award Nominating Committee:
Scott Macaulay (Chair), Gina Kwon, Anne Walker-McBay, Lianne Halfon, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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