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Maggie Gyllenhaal won best director for The Lost Daughter at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards.
Gyllenhaal broke down in tears as she recognized the power and importance of love, independent film and The Lost Daughter’s various production members while accepting the honor on Sunday in Santa Monica.
After telling herself to “keep it together” while overcome with emotion, Gyllenhaal spoke about her philosophy as a director.
“I more than anything believe in love. … I don’t mean to lay down rules, but I think expressing love is among its most beautiful manifestations,” she said. “Those films reminded me what it looks like and what it feels like when somebody is true to themselves, when they listen to themselves.”
Gyllenhaal went on to thank the film’s editor, composer, production designer, director of photography and Netflix, specifically, stating that “nobody ever makes their first movie … as an independent filmmaker and comes out loving their financiers, but I do.”
“You like literally have held me up,” the best director winner said of the film’s creative team. “Some of you have known me for a very, very long time. You pick up my calls on the weekend. And you are a huge part of the reason that I’m standing here right now.”
At the end of her speech, Gyllenhaal honored the medium of independent film.
“One last thing. I love independent film. I grew up making independent film. I love watching film. Everyone here in this tent has scrambled to get their movies made. On our set, when we ran into a problem because we didn’t have enough money or we didn’t have enough time … [we] had a mantra,” she said. “We would make a compromise and we would say, ‘Next time: 35 millimeters and 35 days.'”
The Lost Daughter follows a college professor who must confront her unsettling past and memories of her early motherhood after a meeting with a woman and her young daughter while on vacation in Italy.
Last year’s winner, Chloé Zhao, presented the honor to Gyllenhaal, who was nominated in the category alongside Janicza Bravo (Zola), Lauren Hadaway (The Novice), Mike Mills (C’mon C’mon) and Ninja Thyberg (Pleasure).
Gyllenhaal also won a Spirit Award for best screenplay, while The Lost Daughter was later crowned best feature.
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