Julie Christie Out & Telugu-Language Movie In: Spirit Awards + Thessaloniki Winners

Vanaja by Rajnesh Domalpalli

There were several surprise nominees for the 2007 Spirit Awards, announced earlier today.

Most notable among those were Rajnesh Domalpalli's Telugu-language drama Vanaja (above), which garnered nominations for best first feature film and best cinematography (Milton Kam); Marisa Tomei's best supporting actress nod for Sidney Lumet's thriller Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; and Marcus Carl Franklin's presence in the best supporting actor category for his performance as “Woody” in I'm Not There.

Notable for their absence were, among others, Nicole Kidman for Margot at the Wedding, Christian Bale for Rescue Dawn, Ethan Hawke for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Mathieu Amalric for his performance as stroke victim Jean-Dominique Bauby in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ryan Gosling for Lars and the Real Girl, veteran director Sidney Lumet for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and Mira Nair's The Namesake in the best feature category.

Also, Tamara Jenkins was nominated for both her direction of and her screenplay for The Savages, but the film itself failed to receive a nomination.

Sarah Polley's Away from Her wasn't submitted for the Spirit Awards – and wouldn't have been eligible in most categories, as it's a Canadian production. That explains why Julie Christie – superb as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's – is not in the running for Best Actress.

Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There by Todd HaynesThe only nominee for the Spirit Award for best feature that also received a nod in the same category from the New York-based Gotham Awards was I'm Not There (right), Todd Haynes' surreal Bob Dylan biopic, while none of the nominated Gotham documentaries can be found in the Spirit Awards list. (Though Craig Zobel's Great World of Sound, a Gotham nominee for best feature, was shortlisted as one of the Spirit Awards' five best first features.) Part of the reason for the discrepancy has to do with different eligibility rules. Sean Penn's Gotham-nominated Into the Wild, for instance, cost more than US$20 million, which made it ineligible for the Spirit Awards.

Among the expected Spirit Award nominees are I'm Not There in the best film, best director (Haynes), and best supporting actress (Cate Blanchett, above photo) categories; Juno, about a young pregnant girl looking for prospective parents for her upcoming baby, in the best feature, best director (Jason Reitman), and best actress (Ellen Page) categories; and Cristian Mungiu's Cannes Film Festival winner 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Eran Kolirin's multiple Ophir winner The Band's Visit, and Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis in the best foreign film category.

All of the above names and titles will surely be found in many U.S. critics' awards lists. They are also likely Oscar contenders. (The Band's Visit, however, is ineligible in the foreign-language film category as most of its dialogue is in English.)

Tang Wei, Tony Leung in Lust, Caution

Of the (very) few Spirit Award nominees I've seen, only three – Lust, Caution leads (and Golden Horse nominees) Tony Leung and Tang Wei (above), and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto – would be included in my list of best of the best of 2007.

As an aside: The best micro-budget film I saw this year, David Lewis' Rock Haven, about a Christian teenager coming to terms with his homosexuality, could not be found in the list of nominees for the John Cassavetes Award – given to features made for under $500,000. Whether or not Rock Haven was eligible, its absence from the Cassavetes Award shortlist is an unfortunate omission.

The 2007 Spirit Award winners will be announced on Feb. 23, 2008.

Note: The Gotham Award winners will be announced tonight.

Film Independent's 23rd Spirit Awards - 2007

2007 Spirit Award nominations: November 27, 2007.

2007 Spirit Award winners: February 23, 2008. 

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Kilik
I'm Not There, Producers: Christine Vachon, John Sloss, John Goldwyn, James D. Stern
* Juno, Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
A Mighty Heart, Producers: Dede Gardner, Andrew Eaton, Brad Pitt
Paranoid Park, Producers: Neil Kopp, David Cress

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Director: Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
The Band's Visit, Director: Eran Kolirin (Israel)
Lady Chatterley, Director: Pascale Ferran (France)
* Once, Director: John Carney (Ireland)
Persepolis, Directors: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi (France)

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
2 Days in Paris, Director: Julie Delpy, Producers: Julie Delpy, Christophe Mazodier, Thierry Potok
Great World of Sound, Director: Craig Zobel, Producers: Melissa Palmer, David Gordon Green, Richard Wright, Craig Zobel
* The Lookout, Director: Scott Frank, Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes
Rocket Science, Director: Jeffrey Blitz, Producers: Effie T. Brown, Sean Welch
Vanaja, Director: Rajnesh Domalpalli, Producer: Latha R. Domalapalli

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)
* Crazy Love, Director: Dan Klores
Lake of Fire, Director: Tony Kaye
Manufactured Landscapes, Director: Jennifer Baichwal
The Monastery, Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær
The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, Directors: Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker

Todd Haynes, I'm Not There
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Jason Reitman, Juno
* Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park

Pedro Castaneda, August Evening
Don CheadleTalk to Me
* Philip Seymour HoffmanThe Savages
Frank LangellaStarting Out in the Evening
Tony Leung, Lust, Caution

Angelina JolieA Mighty Heart
Sienna Miller, Interview
* Ellen Page, Juno
Parker Posey, Broken English
Tang Wei, Lust, Caution

* Chiwetel EjioforTalk to Me
Marcus Carl Franklin, I'm Not There
Kene Holliday, Great World of Sound
Irrfan Khan, The Namesake
Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn

* Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Anna KendrickRocket Science
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding
Tamara Podemski, Four Sheets to the Wind
Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Ronald HarwoodThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
* Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner, Starting Out in the Evening
Adrienne Shelly, Waitress
Mike White, Year of the Dog

Jeffrey Blitz, Rocket Science
Zoe Cassavetes, Broken English
* Diablo CodyJuno
Kelly Masterson, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
John Orloff, A Mighty Heart

Mott Hupfel, The Savages
* Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Milton Kam, Vanaja
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., Youth Without Youth
Rodrigo Prieto, Lust, Caution

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
* 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, Writers: 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

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Given to one film's director, casting director and its ensemble cast)
* I'm Not There
Director: Todd Haynes
Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard GereHeath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood

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

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

* Ramin Bahrani, director of Chop Shop
Ronnie Bronstein, director of Frownland
Lee Isaac Chung, director of Munyurangabo

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

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

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award Nominating Committee: Scott Foundas (Chair), Effie T. Brown, Lisa Kennedy, Bryan Poyser, Maud Nadler

48th Thessaloniki Film Festival Awards - 2007 Golden Alexander

The 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival was held between November 16-25, 2007.

In Shangjun Cai's The Red Awn, after a five-year absence a middle-aged man (Yao Anlian) returns to his hometown to reclaim his house but is told that he is, as per the local registry, officially dead. The living dead man must then regain his place both in society and within his family, as he must now become reacquainted with his young son (Lu Yulai).

Golden Alexander Award for Best Film: The Red Awn / Hongse Kangbaiyin(China) by Shangjun Cai

Shot in one continuous take, Spyros StathopoulosPVC-1 is a based-on-a-true-story drama about a kidnap victim (Merida Urquia) who is turned into a human time bomb after her family fails to pay for her ransom.

Silver Alexander Award: PVC-1 by Spyros Stathopoulos (Colombia)

Best Director: Veiko Ounpuu for Autumn Ball (Estonia)

Best Actor: Alberto Sornoza for PVC-1 (Colombia)

Best Actress: Anna Lalasidou for Elli Makra - 42277 Wuppertal (Greece)

Best Screenplay: Thanos Anastasopoulos and Vassilis Raisis for Correction(Greece)

Artistic Achievement Award: Jonas Cuaron for Año Uña / The Year of The Nail(Mexico)

FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) Award for a film in the International Competition Section: PVC-1 by Spiros Stathoulopoulos, Colombia / Greece / USA

For a film in the Greek Films section: i EPISTROFI (THE HOMECOMING) by Vassilis Douvlis, Greece


For a film in the International Competition section: PVC-1 by Spiros Stathoulopoulos, Colombia / Greece / USA

For a film in the Greek Films 2007 section: EL GRECO by Iannis Smaragdis, Greece

For a film in the Balkan Survey section: BEYNELMILEL (THE INTERNATIONAL) by Sirri Sureyya Onder and Muharrem Gulmez, Turkey

For a film in the Greek Films DigitalWave section: YAGONAN: THE DARK DAYS OF DOOM by Yagos Raftopoulos, Greece

HUMAN VALUES AWARD for a film in the Independence Days ID-07 section: SZTUCZKI (Tricks) by Andrzej Jakimowski, Poland





CROSSROADS - Co-production Forum Award: THE POLICEMAN by Navad Lapid, Israel - Producers Edgar Tenembaum, Geraldine Michelot

BALKAN FUND - Script Development Awards:

RIO - Writers: Nicolas Panoutsopoulos & Argyris Germanidis - Director/Producer: Nicolas Panoutsopoulos, Greece
THE POOR LITTLE THINGS - Writer: Onder Cakar - Director: Ayhan Hacifazlioglu - Producer: Sevil Demirci Cakar, Turkey
FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA - Writers/Directors: Melissa De Raaf & Razvan Radulescu -Producer: Ada Solomon, Romania
MOTHER - Writer/Director: Juraj Lerotic - Producer: Dana Budisavljevic, Croatia


METASTASES -Director: Branko Schmidt -Producer: Stanislav Babic, Croatia
SOME OTHER STORIES- Writers/ Directors: Ana Maria Rossi / Ines Tanovic /Maria Dzizeva / Hanna Slak / Ivona Juka - Producer: Nenad Dukoc, Serbia / Montenegro

International Competition Jury: Jirí Menzel, Director (CzechRepublic), President; Lucrecia Martel, Director (Argentina); Yasmin Ahmad, Director / Producer / Actress (Malaysia); Michael Fitzgerald, Producer (USA); Nae Caranfil, Director (Romania); Fred Roos, Producer (USA); Olga Brumas, Poet / Professor (Greece)

FIPRESCI Jury: Alin Tasciyan, President (Turkey); Pablo Utin (Israel); Shahla Nahid (France); Raghavendra Mirle (India); Dimitris Babas (Greece)

Julie Christie Out & Telugu-Language Movie In: Spirit Awards + Thessaloniki Winners © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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