Spirit Awards Unveil New Honor for Female Directors

Araya Diaz/WireImage
Jenny Slate and Edgar Ramirez at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The Bonnie Award is named after American Airlines pilot Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline.

American Airlines and Film Independent are taking flight with a new honor for female directors.  

The Bonnie Award will be handed out at Film Independent's annual Spirit Awards nominees brunch, and will honor an up-and-coming female director with an innovative vision and breakthrough work. 

The award is named after American Airlines pilot Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline, beginning her career in 1973 as a flight engineer and going on to fly for 26 years before retiring. 

"We’re inspired by Bonnie’s story and perseverance, and we are honored that this award for female directors will carry her name,” said Fernand Fernandez, vice president of global marketing for American Airlines. “We are committed to building a diverse workforce and providing opportunities for people from all walks of life.”

Tiburzi added: “I had to work harder, longer and be better just to be equal, but American Airlines didn’t shy away from hiring a woman. To be recognized and bring back this part of my life is exhilarating.”

Submissions and nominations for the Bonnie Award will open in June and nominees will be announced in November, with the inaugural Bonnie Award being presented during the 2018 Spirit Awards. The winner will receive $50,000.

The 2017 Independent Spirit Awards will take place this weekend, Feb. 25, on the beach in Santa Monica. 

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