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“Little Miss Sunshine” Tops 2007 Film Independents Spirit Awards

The hit independent film Little Miss Sunshine won the top prize for Best Feature at the 2007

Film Independent’s Spirit Awards

. The winner for Best First Feature went to Sweet Land, which marks the first time in the history of the Spirit Awards that a film without a distributor has won this prize.

The 2007 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards were held Saturday, February 24, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. This annual event, which began as a small grassroots program, has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the film year.

This year’s major category winners were Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Little Miss Sunshine, which won Best Feature, Best Directors (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris), Best Supporting Male (Alan Arkin), and Best First Screenplay (Michael Arndt), and Thank You For Smoking for Best Screenplay (Jason Reitman); ThinkFilm’s Half Nelson, which won Best Male Lead (Ryan Gosling), and Best Female Lead (Shareeka Epps); Sony Pictures Classics’ Quinceañera which won the John Cassavetes Award, and Friends With Money which won Best Supporting Female (Frances McDormand).

Howard Gertler and Tim Perell, producers of Shortbus and Pizza, received the tenth annual Axium Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The winner of the Producers Award receives an unrestricted grant of $50,000 funded by Axium International.

Julia Loktev, director of Day Night Day Night, won the 13th annual IFC/Acura Someone To Watch Award, a $50,000 unrestricted grant created to honor a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is funded by IFC and Acura.

Adele Horne, director of The Tailenders, won the 11th annual Axium Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention. The award is accompanied by a $50,000 unrestricted grant funded by Axium International.

David Lynch and Laura Dern received a Special Distinction Award for their collaborative work. The late director Robert Altman received an Honorary Spirit Award for his lifelong commitment to independent filmmaking.

As previously announced, a new Spirit Award – The Robert Altman Award – was created in the director’s name, to be given out for the first time at the 2008 Spirit Awards to one film’s director and ensemble cast.

Actor/Comedian Sarah Silverman served as Master of Ceremonies. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Terrence Howard served as Honorary Co-Chairs.

Complete list of the winners

Best Feature

Little Miss Sunshine

Producers: Marc Turtletaub,

David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa

Best Director

Jonathon Dayton & Valerie Faris

Little Miss Sunshine

Best Screenplay

Jason Reitman

Thank You For Smoking

Best First Feature

Sweet Land

Director: Ali Selim

Producers: Alan Cumming, James Bigham, Ali Selim

Best First Screenplay

Michael Arndt

Little Miss Sunshine

John Cassavetes Award

(For the Best Feature made for under $500,000)

Writer/Directors: Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland


Producer: Anne Clements

Best Supporting Female

Frances McDormand

Friends with Money

Best Supporting Male

Alan Arkin

Little Miss Sunshine

Best Female Lead

Shareeka Epps

Half Nelson

Best Male Lead

Ryan Gosling

Half Nelson

Best Cinematography

Guillermo Navarro

Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Foreign Film

The Lives of Others

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Best Documentary

Roadside Attractions

The Road to Guantanamo

Directors: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross


Fox Searchlight Pictures – 5

Sony Pictures Classics – 3

Thinkfilm – 2

Picturehouse – 1

Roadside Attractions – 1

no distributor -1