Sunday, February 27, 2005

The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards

The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards took a big drink of "Sideways" Saturday, as the wine-soaked comedy picked up six trophies, including one for best feature.

In addition, the Fox Searchlight release, produced by Michael London, earned awards for Alexander Payne as best director and Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor for best screenplay. In the acting categories, its lead actor Paul Giamatti took home honors as best male lead, while Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen scored in the supporting acting categories.

The award for best female lead went to Catalina Sandino Moreno, who plays a reluctant drug runner in HBO Films/Fine Line Features' "Maria Full of Grace." The film's writer/director Joshua Marston also received an award for best first screenplay.

Zach Braff's debut film, "Garden State," a Fox Searchlight release, was named best first feature, while Jacob Aaron Estes' "Mean Creek," released by Paramount Classics took the John Cassavetes Award for best feature made for under $500,000.

The award for best debut performance was claimed by Rodrigo de la Serna, who plays Che Guevara's buddy in Focus Features' "The Motorcycle Diaries." That film also earned Eric Gautier an award for best cinematography.

Alejandro Amenabar's Spanish-language "The Sea Inside," a Fine Line release, was named best foreign film.

IFC Films' "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster," directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, was honored as best documentary.

Gina Kwon, producer of "Me and You and Everyone We Know" and "The Motel," was presented with the Bravo/American Express Producers Award. Jem Cohen, director of "Chain," won the Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award. Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman, directors of "Born Into Brothels," won the DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award. A Special Distinction Award was given to the ensemble cast of "Mean Creek": Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder.

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