Independent Gay Cowboys & Transgender Traveler Top Spirits + 'Life in Color' Wins Miami

Independent Film Spirit Brokeback MountainIndependent Film Spirit Award winner 'Brokeback Mountain,' with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Independent Film Spirit Awards 2006: 'Brokeback Mountain' is Best Film

Ang Lee's gay romantic drama and 2006 Academy Award favorite Brokeback Mountain won two top awards – Best Film and Best Director – at the Independent Film Spirit Awards ceremony held earlier today, March 4. (See further below the full list of the Independent Film Spirit Awards' winners and nominees.)

Nominated for his performance as a gay ranch hand, Heath Ledger lost the Best Actor award to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays another gay character, author and sometime screenwriter Truman Capote, in Bennett Miller's real-life-inspired drama Capote – which also earned Dan Futterman (Robin Williams and Nathan Lane's son in The Birdcage) the Best Screenplay award.

Continuing with the 2006 Independent Film Spirit Awards' non-heterosexual preferences (and here we are talking about preferences), Felicity Huffman was selected as the year's Best Actress in a U.S.-made independent film for her delightful pre-op transsexual in Transamerica.

'Crash' wins two awards

Paul Haggis' Los Angeles-based, race-obsessed drama Crash, which has been overhyped as a potential upset winner at the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony tomorrow – some people have been struggling awful hard to add suspense to this year's utterly predictable list of Oscar winners* – won every single Independent Film Spirit Award for which it had been nominated.

That makes it a total of a mere two wins: Best First Film and Best Supporting Actor for Matt Dillon, who plays a racist L.A. cop with a past that – sort of like maybe who can tell – explains his bigotry, and who, at one crucial moment, realizes he's not such a bad guy after all.

The recent hype surrounding Crash, which was all but ignored by the Golden Globes while being mostly bypassed by North American film critics, surely didn't hurt the film's chances to take home these two Independent Film Spirit awards. After all, one should take into account the fact that – weeks ago – voting committee members didn't even deem Crash worthy of a Best Film, Best Director, or Best Screenplay nomination.

More Independent Film Spirit winners: Amy Adams, 'Paradise Now'

And here are a couple more 2006 Independent Film Spirit Award winners: Amy Adams was Best Supporting Actress for Junebug, while Hany-Abu Assad's Paradise Now – despite calls for a boycott from those who apparently haven't seen the anti-terrorism film – won the Best Foreign Film award.

* Update: The Crash overhypers turned out to be not such overhypers after all. Crash, not Brokeback Mountain, was the year's Best Picture Academy Award winner.

2006 Independent Film Spirit Awards: Winners and nominees

Best Film
* Brokeback Mountain - Prod.: Diana Ossana and James Schamus.
Capote - Prod.: Caroline Baron, William Vince, Michael Ohoven.
Good Night and Good Luck. - Prod.: Grant Heslov.
The Squid and the Whale - Prod.: Wes Anderson, Peter Newman, Charles Corwin, Clara Markowicz.
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada - Prod.: Michael Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Luc Besson, Pierre-Ange Le Pogan.

Best Foreign Film
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu / Moartea domnului Lazarescu (Romania) - Dir.: Cristi Puiu.
Duck Season / Temporada de patos (Mexico) - Dir.: Fernando Eimbcke.
Head-On / Gegen die Wand (Germany / Turkey) - Dir.: Fatih Akin.
* Paradise Now (Palestine / Netherlands / Germany / France) - Dir.: Hany Abu-Assad.
Tony Takitani (Japan) - Dir.: Jun Ichikawa.

Best Director
* Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain.
George Clooney for Good Night and Good Luck.
Gregg Araki for Mysterious Skin.
Rodrigo García for Nine Lives.
Noah Baumbach for The Squid and the Whale.

Best Actor
Jeff Daniels for The Squid and the Whale.
* Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote.
Terrence Howard for Hustle & Flow.
Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain.
David Strathairn for Good Night and Good Luck.

Best Actress
* Felicity Huffman for Transamerica.
Dina Korzun for Forty Shades of Blue.
Laura Linney for The Squid and the Whale.
S. Epatha Merkerson for Lackawanna Blues.
Cyndi Williams for Room.

Best Supporting Actress
* Amy Adams for Junebug.
Maggie Gyllenhaal for Happy Endings.
Allison Janney for Our Very Own.
Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain.
Robin Wright Penn for Nine Lives.

Best Supporting Actor
Firdous Bamji for The War Within.
* Matt Dillon for Crash.
Jesse Eisenberg for The Squid and the Whale.
Barry Pepper for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Jeffrey Wright for Broken Flowers.

Best Screenplay
Ayad Akhtar, Joseph Castelo, Tom Glynn for The War Within.
Guillermo Arriaga for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Noah Baumbach for The Squid and the Whale.
* Dan Futterman for Capote.
Rodrigo García for Nine Lives.

Best First Feature
* Crash - Dir.: Paul Haggis. Prod.: Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco, Paul Haggis.
Lackawanna Blues - Dir.: George C. Wolfe. Prod.: Nellie Nugiel.
Me and You and Everyone We Know - Dir.: Miranda July. Prod.: Gina Kwon.
Thumbsucker - Dir.: Mike Mills. Prod.: Anthony Bregman.
and Bob Stephenson.
Transamerica - Dir.: Duncan Tucker. Prod.: Sebastian Dungan, Linda Moran, Rene Bastian.

Best Documentary
* Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Dir.: Alex Gibney.
Grizzly Man - Dir.: Werner Herzog.
La Sierra - Dir.: Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez.
Romántico - Dir.: Mark Becker.
Sir! No Sir! - Dir.: David Zeiger.

Best First Screenplay
Kenneth Hanes for Fixing Frank.
Miranda July for Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Angus MacLachlan for Junebug.
Sabina Murray for The Beautiful Country.
* Duncan Tucker for Transamerica.

Best Cinematography
* Robert Elswit for Good Night and Good Luck.
John Foster for Keane.
Adam Kimmel for Capote.
Chris Menges for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Harris Savides for Last Days.

John Cassavetes Award (for the best feature made for under $500,000)
Brick - Director / Writer: Rian Johnson. Prod.: Ram Bergman, Mark G. Mathis.
* Conventioneers - Dir.: Mora Stephens. Prod.: Joel Viertel.
Writer: Mora Stephens and Joel Viertel.
Jellysmoke - Director / Writer / Prod.: Mark Banning.
The Puffy Chair - Dir.: Jay Duplass. Prod.: Mark Duplass.
Writers: Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass.
Room Director / Writer: Kyle Henry. Prod.: Jesse Scolaro, Allen Bain, Darren Goldberg.

Truer Than Fiction Award
* Occupation: Dreamland - Garrett Scott and Ian Olds.
Our Brand Is Crisis - Rachel Boynton.
Romántico - Mark Becker.
Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela - Thomas Allen Harris.

Someone to Watch Award
* Cavite - Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana.
Police Beat - Robinson Devor.
The Puffy Chair - Jay Duplass.

Producer Award
* Caroline Baron for Capote and Monsoon Wedding.
Ram Bergman for Brick for Conversations with Other Women.
Mike S. Ryan for Junebug and Palindromes


List of 2006 Independent Film Spirit winners and nominees via Film Independent's website.

Image of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Independent Film Spirit Best Picture winner Brokeback Mountain: Focus Features.

2006 Miami Film Festival Awards

March 3: The 2006 Miami International Film Festival will include a tribute to German director Wim Wenders, followed by a screening of Wenders' Don't Come Knocking, which was nominated for the European Film Academy's Best Film award. The film stars Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange.

One of the festival's highlights is the Big Picture program, which exhibits films “that tackle world issues and the human struggle for life and dignity.” This year's program will focus on the French banlieue uprisings, the death penalty, children affected by war and terrorism, and soldiers questioning war. Among the films being shown are Abdelatif Kechiche's L'Esquive / Games of Love and Chance, winner of last year's César; Jessica Sanders's damning documentary After Innocence; Joop van Wijk's Echoes of War; and David Zeiger's Sir, No Sir!.

The Miami festival opens tonight with a screening of Eliseo Subiela's Argentinian-Spanish co-production Heartlift / Lifting de corazón, starring Pep Munné, Mariana Anghileri, and María Barranco.

2006 Miami Film Festival: March 2–12.

Set in a Spanish village in the mid-1970s – during the last months of General Franco's life – Santiago Tabernero's Life in Color depicts the travails of a 13-year-old boy (Junio Valverde) and his family as both the boy and Spain itself go through dramatic and lasting changes.

Dramatic Features - Ibero-American Cinema Competition: Vida y color / Life in Color (Spain), by director Santiago Tabernero

Special Grand Jury Mention: 7 Vírgenes / 7 Virgins (Spain), by director Alberto Rodríguez

Special Grand Jury Mention: Cidade Baixa / Lower City (Brazil), by director Sérgio Machado

Documentary Features - World & Ibero-American Cinema: En el hoyo / In the Pit (Mexico), by director Juan Carlos Rulfo

Special Grand Jury Mention: GITMO - The New Rules of War (Sweden), by directors Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh

Special Grand Jury Mention: La casa de mi abuela / My Grandmother's House (Spain) by director Adán Aliaga

Dramatic Features - World Cinema Competition (tie): Anklaget / Accused (Denmark), by director Jacob Thuesen, and Sauf le respect que je vous dois / Burnt Out (France), by director Fabienne Godet


The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize: Mistrz / The Master (Poland), by director Piotr Trzaskalski


Audience Awards:

World Dramatic Feature Competition: Anklaget / Accused (Denmark), by director Jacob Thuesen

Ibero-American Dramatic Feature Competition: Anjos do sol / Angels of the Sun (Brazil), by director Rudi Lagemann

World & Ibero-American Documentary Feature Competition: The Refugee All Stars (Guinea/Sierra Leone/USA), by directors Zach Niles and Banker White


Miami Encuentros Prize: União Fraterna / Fraternal Love (Brazil), by Laís Bodanzky


Ibero-American Dramatic Cinema jury: Carlos Bolado, Javier Cámara, and Linda Reisman

Documentary Jury: Deborah Dickson, James C. Early, and Lourdes Portillo

Dramatic Features - World Cinema Competition jury: Alfredo de Villa, Mike Goodridge, and Beki Probst

FIPRESCI jury: John Anderson, Andrea M. Dittgen, and Marcelo Janot

2006 SXSW Film Festival Awards

2006 SXSW Film Festival: Austin, March 10–19.


Paul Schneider in Live Free or Die by Andy Robin and Gregg Kavet
Set in New Hampshire, Andy Robin and Gregg Kavet's Live Free or Die follows a deluded gangster wannabe who dreams of becoming a real thug. In order to achieve his goal, he gets a dim-witted friend to help him out.



Best Film: Live Free or Die Dir. Andy Robin & Gregg Kavet

Special Jury Prize - Outstanding Ensemble Cast: Americanese Dir. Eric Byler

Special Jury Prize - Outstanding Visual Achievement: Inner Circle Line Dir. Eunhee Cho

Best Documentary: Jam Dir. Mark Woollen

Special Jury Award: Maxed Out Dir. James D. Scurlock

Best Short: Hiro Dir. Matthew Swanson

Runner-up: Shortstop Dir. Risa Machuca & Fanny Veliz

Best Animated Short: The Wraith of Cobble Hill Dir. Adam Parrish King

Runner-up: Tall Tales & Other Big Lies Dir. Dano Johnson

Best Experimental Short (tie): Sea Change Dir. Joe King & Rosie Pedlow, and Marion Dir. Ry Russo-Young

Runner-up: Stadtplan Dir. Reynold Reynolds

Best Music Video: Ralfe Band “Women Of Japan” Dir. Nigel Coan & Ivana Zorn

Runner-up: The Sad Little Stars “Don't Fuck With Love” Dir. Rachel McIntosh & Jim Starace

Texas High School Competition: Maikafer Dir. Chris Hergert

Runner-up: Weathered Dir. Elizabeth Mims


Americanese by Eric Byler
Based on Shawn Wong's American Knees, Eric Byler's Americanese revolves around the complex liaisons binding a Chinese-American professor (Chris Tashima) to his part-white, part-East Asian ex-wife (Allison Sie), and to his new lover, a Vietnamese immigrant (Joan Chen).



Best Film: Americanese Dir. Eric Byler

Best Documentary: Darkon Dir. Andrew Neel & Luke Meyer

Lone Star States: State Vs Reed Dir. Ryan Polomski & Frank Bustoz

Runner-up: Slam Planet: War of the Words Dir. Mike Henry & Kyle Fuller

Emerging Visions: High Score Dir. Jeremy Mack

Runner-up: Manhattan, Kansas Dir. Tara Wray

24 Beats Per Second Audience Award: Air Guitar Nation Dir. Alexandra Lipsitz

Runner-up: The Refugee All Stars Dir. Zach Niles & Banker White

Stolen Life Li Shaohong

2006 Tiburon Film Festival Awards

2006 Tiburon Film Festival: March 9–17.

Li Shaohong's Stolen Life / Sheng si jie, the story of a young Chinese woman whose new life in the big city turns sour rather quickly, was chosen Best Film, while the Best Director award went to Vladan Nikolic for Love, a non-linear tale about a Yugoslav hit man, his former lover, and her police-officer boyfriend.

The Best Actor and Best Actress winners were, respectively, Monty Lapica, as a drug addict in Self Medicated, and Marzia Tedeschi for her performance in the social drama For Bread Alone / Il Pane nudo.

The Best Documentary was Wayne Coles-Janess' Australian-Iraqi co-production In the Shadow of the Palms - Iraq, which, according to the festival's site, is “the only documentary filmed in Iraq prior to, during and after 'liberation.' ”

The Humanitarian Award was given to Michele Stephenson's Faces of Change, in which “five activists from five different continents send off unique video dispatches from their respective corners of the world, telling stories of their close encounters with discrimination, and exposing the universal commonalities of their experiences.”

The festival also included tributes to filmmakers Paul Mazursky and Joe Dante.


Golden Reel for Best Film: Sheng si jie / Stolen Life, by Li Shaohong (China)

Best Dir.: Vladan Nikolic, for Love (USA/Yugoslavia)

Best Actor: Monty Lapica, for Self Medicated (USA)

Best Actress: Marzia Tedeschi, for Il Pane nudo / For Bread Alone (Italy/Algeria/Morocco)

Best Documentary: In the Shadow of the Palms - Iraq, by Wayne Coles-Janess (Australia/Iraq)

Humanitarian Award: Faces of Change, by Michele Stephenson
(USA/Brazil/India/Mauritania/Bulgaria/South Africa)

Best Musical Documentary: Karoo Kitar Blues, by Liza Key (South Africa)

Best Short: Before Dawn, by Balint Kenyeres (Hungary)

Best Music Video: Sign of the Times by Ole Brereton (USA)

Best Animation: The Legend of the Scarecrow, by Marco Besas (Spain)

Best Short Music: West Bank Story, by Ari Sandel (Israel)

Best Sports Film: Super Champion Funzone, by Ty Evans, Aaron Meza, Spike Jonze, Cory Weincheque (USA)

Federico Fellini Award: Karim Quelhadj, for Parabola (Belgium)

Orson Welles Award: Jeff Morris, for You Did What? (USA)

Best Experimental Film: Between You and Me, by Patryk Rebisz (USA)

Best Student Film: Second Round, by Phillip Briggs (USA)

Best Comedy: Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo, by Les Claypool (USA)

Best Children's Film: Mickybo and Me, by Terry Loane (Ireland)

Audience Award: The Breakup Artist, by Vincent Rubino (USA)

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