Debra Granik, Bing Liu Awarded $75K in Film Independent Grants at Annual Brunch

Courtesy of Getty Images and Film Independent
From left: Alex Moratto, Bing Liu, Brian Tyree Henry, Lena Waithe, Anne Rosellini, Shrihari Sathe and President of Film Independent, Josh Welsh attend the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards nominee brunch

At the annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on Saturday, hosts Brian Tyree Henry and Lena Waithe also revealed the winners of producer and emerging-filmmaker prizes.

Leave No Trace director Debra Granik and Minding the Gap helmer Bing Liu have both been awarded five-figure, unrestricted filmmaking grants from Film Independent, the organization revealed Saturday.

At the annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on Saturday, hosts Brian Tyree Henry and Lena Waithe announced that Granik had won the second annual, $50,000 Bonnie Award, which honors a mid-career female director; Destroyer filmmaker Karyn Kusama and Private Life helmer Tamara Jenkins were finalists for the prize. The first winner of the award, in 2018, was The Rider director Chloe Zhao.

Liu was awarded the $25,000 Truer Than Fiction Award, which goes to an emerging director of nonfiction features; finalists included On Her Shoulders director Alexandria Bombach and Hale County, This Morning, This Evening helmer Ramell Ross. Gook's Justin Chon won the award last year.

Other winners announced Saturday included producer Shrihari Sathe and director Alex Moratto. Sathe, who produced Screwdriver and The Sweet Requiem, among others, received the $25,000 Producers Award for an emerging producer who has released noteworthy independent films despite working on a budget. Runners-up included Sorry to Bother You producers Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams and Little Woods producer Gabrielle Nadig. Summer Shelton (The Jinx) was the last producer to win the prize.

Moratto, the director of Socrates, was given the $25,000 Someone to Watch Award, for filmmakers who have "not yet received appropriate recognition." Finalists for the prize were Lemonade director Ioana Uricaru and We the Animals director Jeremiah Zagar. Out of Many, One director Nanfu Wang won the honor in 2018.

"The Spirit Awards grants provide direct, unrestricted, and needed support to remarkably talented filmmakers, both emerging and mid-career," Film Independent president Josh Welsh said in a statement. "We’re so proud of this year’s filmmakers and look forward to seeing their new work in years to come."

Winners in other categories will be revealed at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 23, hosted by Aubrey Plaza. The 34th edition of the ceremony will be broadcast live on IFC at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.