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Three Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants Announced

Angela Bassett, Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola handed out the honors at the annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch.

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced the winners of its three Spirit Awards filmmaker grants today at its annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch at the BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston received the Piaget Producers Award, honoring emerging producers. The awarded includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget. Finalists were Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa and Frederick Thornton.

Jason Osder, director of Let the Fire Burn, received the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award presented to an emerging director of non-fiction. The award also includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant, in this case funded by Stella Artois.  Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez for Manakamana and Kalyanee Mam for A River Changes Course were also finalists for the award.

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Shaka King, director of Newlyweeds, received the Someone to Watch Award, recognizing “a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.”  The award also includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. The finalists for the award included Aaron Douglas Johnston for My Sister’s Quinceañera and Madeleine Olnek for The Foxy Merkins.

Winners in the remaining Spirit Award categories will be announced at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards held on the beach in Santa Monica on March 1. The awards ceremony will premiere later that evening at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on IFC, and as previously announced, writer, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt will serve as host of the ceremony.

Spirit Awards honorary chairperson Angela Bassett and actors Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola hosted today’s nominees brunch and handed out the honors.

“Supporting emerging filmmakers is a cornerstone of our organization’s mission,” said Film Independent president Josh Welsh. "These grants help ensure that their independent creativity can shine on. Congratulations to all the finalists and recipients."