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Andrew Garfield presented the Robert Altman Award at the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards to his old friend, Fran Kranz, for his film Mass.
The two starred in Mike Nichols’ Broadway production of Death of a Salesman in 2012, and Garfield said he’s been “incredibly impressed with what he’s done with this film, which happens to be his directorial debut, which is insane.”
“The Robert Altman Award is named after a legendary filmmaker held in the highest esteem by actors because of the rich performances that populated in his movies. Every ensemble piece that follows owes him a great debt,” Garfield said, adding that the film Mass carries on Altman’s spirit.
Taking the stage, Kranz thanked Garfield and said he learned so much watching from the wings. “I thought about that time often while making this movie,” he said.
“I was kicked out of the Venice Film Festival’s premiere of Robert Altman’s Shortcuts. I was 12 years old, and my family was on vacation in Italy … and right before the lights went down they were like, “This is a kid, he can’t watch this,'” Kranz explained. “I always wondered, who is this Robert Altman guy and what could’ve possibly been in that movie? … I saw it and I know exactly why they kicked me out of there. I saw new definition and depth to the ideas behind acting and ensemble. I saw how different experiences can somehow still be shared human experience.”
He added: “I confirmed my suspicion that Robert Altman and his films were among the gold standard of what we were all trying to do here. … It’s not an easy film to celebrate. I wanted to demand a new kind of attention on the pain grief built around this country but also the need to heal and present a new way of looking at one another, seeing one another, speaking to another and maybe find some state of grace in one another.”
Mass follows two sets of parents who decide to meet and talk in the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy.
The Robert Altman Award is presented to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The casting directors are Henry Russell Bergstein and Allison Estrin, while the ensemble cast includes Kagen Albright, Reed Birney, Michelle N. Carter, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton and Breeda Wool.
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