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Frozen River claims top prize at the Gotham Awards

Ballast might have lead the total number of nominations, but it is Frozen River who picked up a pair, including Gotham Awards’ top prize. Really?

Ballast might have lead the total number of nominations, but it is Frozen River who picked up a pair, including Gotham Awards’ top prize. Really? If I were a betting man I’d have guessed right in two categories (Breakthrough Director and Actor), guessed half right in one (Best Ensemble) and would have terribly been wrong but pleasantly surprised with the Best Documentary going to Trouble the Water, and finally I’d would have been wrong on guessing Best Feature, and as you can guess, I’m perplexed on how Courtney Hunt’s border crossing drama faired a better chance in a category that was loaded in quality features. 

Ballast – Lance Hammer, director; Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh, producers (Alluvial Film Company)
Frozen River – Courtney Hunt, director; Heather Rae, Chip Hourihan, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Synecdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman, director; Anthony Bregman, Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
The Visitor – Tom McCarthy, director; Mary Jane Skalski, Michael London, producers (Overture Films)
The Wrestler – Darren Aronofsky, director; Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Chris & Don: A Love Story – Guido Santi & Tina Mascara, directors; Julia Scott, Tina Mascara, Guido Santi, James White, producers (Zeitgeist Films)
Encounters at the End of the World – Werner Herzog, director; Henry Kaiser, producer (THINKFilm / Image Entertainment)
Man on Wire – James Marsh, director; Simon Chinn, producer (Magnolia Pictures)
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired – Marina Zenovich, director; Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Lila Yacoub, Marina Zenovich, producers (THINKFilm in association with HBO Documentaries)
Trouble the Water – Tia Lessin & Carl Deal, producers/directors (Zeitgeist Films)

Ballast – Micheal J. Smith, Sr., JimMyron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail (Alluvial Film Company)
Rachel Getting Married – Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George, Debra Winger (Sony Pictures Classics)
Synecdoche, New York – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan (Sony Pictures Classics)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz (The Weinstein Company)
The Visitor – Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbas, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira (Overture Films)

Antonio Campos for Afterschool
Dennis Dortch for A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy (Magnolia Pictures)
Lance Hammer for Ballast (Alluvial Film Company)
Barry Jenkins for Medicine for Melancholy (IFC Films)
Alex Rivera for Sleep Dealer (Maya Releasing)

Pedro Castaneda in August Evening (Maya Releasing)
Rosemarie DeWitt in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
Rebecca Hall in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
Alejandro Polanco in Chop Shop (Koch Lorber Films)
Micheal J. Smith, Sr. in Ballast (Alluvial Film Company)



Afterschool – Antonio Campos, director; Josh Mond, Sean Durkin, producers
Meadowlark – Taylor Greeson, producer/director
The New Year Parade – Tom Quinn, director; Steve Beal, Tom Quinn, producers
Sita Sings the Blues – Nina Paley, producer/director
Wellness – Jake Mahaffy, director; Jake Mahaffy, Jeff Clark, producers


For More Information: Patrick Kowalczyk, [email protected] Scott Piro, [email protected] PKPR, 212.627.8098 IFP’S 18th ANNUAL GOTHAM AWARDST MOVING TO CIPRIANI WALL STREET AWARDS CEREMONY TO TAKE PLACE ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2nd IN NEW YORK CITY Deadline for Submissions is Monday, September 22 New York, NY (July 7, 2008) – IFP, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, today announced that the 18th Annual Gotham AwardsT will move to its new home, Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, on Tuesday, December 2nd . One of the leading awards for independent films, the Gotham AwardsT honor independently-distributed American feature films made with an economy of means. The first major awards of the film season, the Gotham AwardsT are juried and provide critical early recognition to worthy independent films. Past winners include JUNO (2007), HALF NELSON (2006), JUNEBUG (2005), all of which went on to numerous awards and OscarT nominations for their stars — Ellen Page, Ryan Gosling, and Amy Adams, respectively. “New York is the home of independent film, so it’s exciting to bring the Gotham Awards to a classic New York venue like Cipriani Wall Street,” said Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP. “It will provide a spectacular setting for celebrating the best in independent film.” Once again, IFP will also present a public series of events with filmmakers, retrospectives, and screenings highlighting the 18th Annual Gotham Awards nominees and honorees. The series seeks to expand the audience for independent films while supporting the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition. Submissions are now being accepted in five of the six competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Actor, Breakthrough Director and Best Ensemble Cast. Applications are available at The deadline for submissions is 5pm EST on Monday, September 22, 2008. Nominees will be announced on October 20th, 2008, and winners will be honored at a star-studded ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on December 2nd. Sponsors of the 18th Annual Gotham AwardsT include Premiere sponsor The New York Times and Presenting sponsors A DIAMOND IS FOREVER and Stella Artois. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times this November. About IFP Founded as a satellite program of the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers–voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP believes that independent films enrich the universal language of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. The organization has fostered early work by leading filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith. For more information:

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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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