Gotham Independent Film Awards Announced

IFP (Independent Film Project) announced the nominees for the 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday. The ceremony will take place on December 2 at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. The organization announced in statement released to Access Hollywood.

IFP also announced the new name for the awards, making the subtle shift from the Gotham Awards to the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

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In years past, the film organization honored indie breakouts “Juno,” “Half Nelson” and “Junebug,” all of which went on to earn numerous awards and Oscar nominations for their stars Ellen Page, Ryan Gosling, and Amy Adams, respectively.

Garnering four separate nominations – the most for this year – is “Ballast,” Lance Hammer’s directorial debut and multiple-award winner from festivals as diverse as Sundance, Berlin, Deauville and others. The film is currently being self-distributed by Hammer’s Alluvial Film Company with the help of marketing consultant Steven Raphael’s Required Viewing. It was nominated for Best Feature, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor and Best Ensemble Performance.

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Six films received two nominations, including Antonio Campos’ directorial debut from Cannes “Afterschool,” Courtney Hunt’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Frozen River,” Jonathan Demme’s current release “Rachel Getting Married,” Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut from Cannes “Synecdoche, New York’” Woody Allen’s latest “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and Tom McCarthy’s sophomore effort, “The Visitor.”

A total of 22 films received nominations in six categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

New this year, the recipient of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You will receive a cash award of $15,000 provided by Artists Public Domain, the non-profit dedicated to supporting the artistic vision of filmmakers working outside of the commercial mainstream, and D.R. Reiff & Associates Inc., a full service brokerage firm specializing in Arts & Entertainment Insurance.

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“Contradicting the doom and gloom stories about the state of independent film, 2008 has proven to be an extremely strong year for an immensely diverse group of filmmakers tackling a range of subjects and forms in new and dynamic ways,” said Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP in a statement released to Access. “Impressively, nearly 50% of our titles are directorial debuts.”

IFP previously announced that actor Penelope Cruz, president of HBO Documentary Films’ Sheila Nevins, and filmmakers Gus Van Sant and Melvin Van Peebles will be presented with Tributes at this year’s awards ceremony.

Selecting this year’s nominees were 18 critics, journalists, and film programmers. Final award recipients will be determined by separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, casting directors, composers and others directly involved in making films. The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award will be determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator from The Museum of Modern Art.

The 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Award™ nominees are:

Best Feature
“Frozen River”
“Synecdoche, New York”
“The Visitor”
“The Wrestler”

Best Documentary
“Chris & Don: A Love Story”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“Man on Wire”
“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”
“Trouble the Water”

Best Ensemble Performance
“Rachel Getting Married”
“Synecdoche, New York”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
“The Visitor”

Breakthrough Director
Antonio Campos for “Afterschool”
Dennis Dortch for “A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy”
Lance Hammer for “Ballast”
Barry Jenkins for “Medicine for Melancholy”
Alex Rivera for “Sleep Dealer”

Breakthrough Actor
Pedro Castaneda in “August Evening”
Rosemarie DeWitt in “Rachel Getting Married”
Rebecca Hall in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”
Alejandro Polanco in “Chop Shop”
Micheal J. Smith, Sr. in ‘Ballast”

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