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Feb 23 2017

A New Awards Group?Yup,Another One for the Indies

Over the years I realize that The Film Experience has been a bit of a killjoy in terms of one very specific development that other awards sites fawn on: the explosion of film award groups.亚博主页It's just that over the years its been ridiculous to see the numbers explode but not see any correlative expansion of ideas or discussion about what constitutes great cinema.If all awards groups do is rubber stamp each other and watch the same 20 movies,we should just stick to the 3 or 4 original groups and be done with it!

This preamble is a way of saying that when I heard there was a new Independent Film Award organization I initially rolled my eyes and shrugged it off with a tweet.Weren't The Gothams and the Spirits enough?But I've had a bit of a change of heart and am keeping an open mind after further investigation.If you're going to create a new film award,you need a purpose.And the American Independent Film Awards seems to have one.In fact,it looks like they're planning to do exactly what the Independent Spirit awards originally set out to do but have long since wandered away from as they've become a mainstream big publicity party for the mini-majors and their Oscar campaigns.The AIFA will focus on movies with budgets of $1 million or less.In other words,true indies as studios don't make films that size...

This,we tip our hats in respect,is worth doing since there are no such honors at the moment.The closest you'll come to it is a single prize,the  "John Cassavettes Awards"at the Spirit Awards meant to honor films with teeny tiny budgets.But that single prize now feels like an afterthought for the Spirits who have essentially been coopted as part of the mainstream and seem to be happy playing there.

So here are the nominations and wins for the AIFAs whereThe Fits,a film we really loved last year,led the nominations thoughKrisha(which I wasnota fan of,but which many other members of The Film Experiencewere) took home the most prizes with four wins.亚博主页But again,to play killjoy,we wish the online references to these awards hadn't used the term "swept"...people don't seem to know what that means.Krisha did not win in all its categories.It just happened to win the most awards.This is not the same thing as a sweep.


  • Always Shine– Director: Sophia Takal Producers: Lawrence Michael Levine,Sophia Takal,Pierce Varous
  • Henry Gamble's Birthday Party– Director: Stephen Cone Producers: Stephen Cone,Laura Klein,Shane Simmons
  • Kate Plays Christine– Director: Robert Greene Producers: Susan Bedusa,Douglas Tirola
  • [WINNER]Krisha– Director: Trey Edward Shults Producers: Justin R.Chan,Chase Joliet,Trey Edward Shults,Wilson Smith
  • Little Sister– Director: Zach Clark Producers: Zach Clark,Daryl Pittman,Melodie Sisk
  • The Eyes of My Mother– Director: Nicolas Pesce Producers: Max Born,Jacob Wasserman,Schuyler Weiss
  • The Fits– Director: Anna Rose Holmer Producers: Anna Rose Holmer,Lisa Kjerulff
  • The Invitation– Director: Karyn Kusama Producers: Martha Griffin,Phil Hay,Matt Manfredi,Nick Spicer
  • The Other Side– Director: Roberto Minervini Producers: Paolo Benzi,Muriel Meynard,Dario Zonta
  • White Girl– Director: Elizabeth Wood Producers: Gabriel Nussbaum

If there's a link above it's to what we've written about the film.It's nice to seeHenry Gamble's Birthday Partyhonored somewhere!


  • Robert Greene,Kate Plays Christine
  • [WINNER]Trey Edward Shults,Krisha
  • Zach Clark,Little Sister
  • Anna Rose Holmer,The Fits
  • Karyn Kusama,The Invitation


  • Stephen Cone,Henry Gamble's Birthday Party
  • [WINNER]Trey Edward Shults,Krisha
  • Zach Clark,Little Sister
  • Saela Davis,Anna Rose Holmer,Lisa Kjerulff,The Fits
  • Phil Hay,Matt Manfredi,The Invitation
  • Elizabeth Wood,White Girl


  • Blue Jay
  • collective: unconscious
  • [WINNER]Kate Plays Christine


  • Mackenzie Davis,Always Shine
  • Kate Lyn Sheil,Kate Plays Christine
  • [WINNER]Krisha Fairchild,Krisha
  • Addison Timlin,Little Sister
  • Jesse Plemons,Other People
  • Royalty Hightower,The Fits
  • Morgan Saylor,White Girl


  • Caitlin FitzGerald,Always Shine
  • Edwina Findley,Free in Deed
  • Keith Poulson,Little Sister
  • Ally Sheedy,Little Sister
  • [WINNER]Molly Shannon,Other People
  • Tammy Blanchard,The Invitation
  • John Carroll Lynch,The Invitation


  • Drew Daniels,Krisha
  • Zach Kuperstein,The Eyes of My Mother
  • [WINNER]Paul Yee,The Fits


  • [WINNER]Robert Greene,Kate Plays Christine
  • Trey Edward Shults,Krisha
  • Saela Davis,The Fits


  • Hannah Kittell,Kate Plays Christine
  • Elizabeth Crum,Men Go To Battle
  • [WINNER]Christina Blackaller,The Greasy Strangler


  • Soojin Chang,Charlotte Royer,Paul Tate dePoo III,Mar Urrestarazu,Timothy Whidbee,collective: unconscious
  • John Fergason,Creative Control
  • Chelsea OliverEmbers
  • [WINNER]Sam Hensen,The Eyes of My Mother
  • Charlotte Royer,The Fits
  • Jason Kisvarday,The Greasy Strangler


  • Janine Maloney/Cat Martin,The Eyes of My Mother
  • Danielle Mueller,The Fits
  • [WINNER]Michelle Sfarzo,The Greasy Strangler


  • Daniel Garcia,Jesse Gelaznik,Kazu Makino,Alex Weston,H.
  • [WINNER]Brian McOmber,Krisha
  • Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi,The Fits


  • [WINNER]Fort Buchanan,Director: Benjamin Crotty

THE MICHAEL CIMINO BEST FILM AWARD(Films with a budget between 1M to 3M)

  • Certain Women– Producers: Neil Kopp,Vincent Savino,Anish Savjani / Director: Kelly Reichardt
  • [WINNER]The Love Witch– Producer/Director: Anna Biller


They didn't ask us but we love to dispense free advice.The first pleas to the AIFA is to not dilute their message with weird wishy-washiness which you can see quite a bit of in the first year.Why,for instance do they have a single prize for films up to $3 million budgets when their purpose is to honor the scrappy shoe string movies made for under a million?Why are their varying numbers of nominees per category?They have categories with just a winner announced,categories with only a winner and a runner up.And then categories with the following number of nominees: 3,5,6,7,10.Some of this is due to ties (there should be tie-breaking rules) and some of this is due to inconsistency in their designated size of the category.But whatever the reason,it looks sloppy.

You can argue,historically,that the shows with a regular number of nominees per category tend to enjoy greater prestige (consider The Golden Satellites and the Critics Choice Movie Awards which seem to change their numbers and their categories at the drop of a hat -- and both have had trouble gaining respect).The Globes are more consistent but sometimes they have strange "whatever!"years where they slip which reinvites everyone to judge their respectability (remember that odd year with 7 nominees?).Set rules,standards,and parameters make organizations look more professional and serious about their directives.

It would also help if the awards body were more transparent.I can't find an official website and their voting body is "film festival programmers and film critics"which --- is it a group of like-minded friends inviting each other to play an awards game?Are there bylaws?More info would be great but most articles about them are just sharing their awards list.

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Reader Comments (16)

So happy that someone recognized the score of Krisha.I'm obsessed with the sheer insanity of it.It's brilliant,non-traditional work.I mention it every time,but there is a moment in the score where drum sticks are dropped,picked up,and played with again.It's so bizarre and it works perfectly for the mental state of Krisha.

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Happy to see them recognize real indies.Wish I could understand why people think Krisha is so great though.

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Rech

I always take your disparagement towards these awards groups with a grain of salt - because of your beloved Film Bitch Awards and your Team Experience awards - which I love and thank jesus for some sanity in award season and I know they're tiny and personal - but surely you can understand how addictive and fun it is to have your own awards - hence why these groups keep coming up with them!

February 23,2017 | Unregistered Commentermorganb

I too was skeptical until I saw the nominees and was pleasantly surprised.Genuine independent cinema!But I definitely agree about how scattershot the categories seem to be in terms of numbers.I love the "best improvisational screenplay"category!And I like that they do technical categories like make up because the technicians on films like this are rarely given the opportunity to compete for awards now that the guilds don't even really do their job and just honour Oscar-leaning titles.

And I *think* I get the Cimino category in so much as they maybe want to use it as a category to honour films with true independent ideas and production,but which don't quite meet their budgetary requirements.Certain Women and The Love Witch certainly are great options there,I can see them factoring easily into the rest of the nominees if they cost less.But again,why only two?

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

So happy to see Paul Yee recognized!

February 23,2017 | Registered CommenterChris Feil

Honestly,there needs to be a new awards group to honor independent film.The Spirit Awards have totally sold out---they would have showered 'La La Land' with nominations if the producers had submitted it for consideration.The group is just another star-f*cking Oscar precursor.

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

morganb -- but at least i'm consistent!I dont' change the rules even if it suits me.no ties.no sudden expansion of categories.always 5 wide everything ;) but yes,giving awards is fun.I think everyone should do it.But not everyone needs to start their own organization,especially if that organization doesn't serve a purpose other than saying"i hope you nominated these 5 of the 8 people you were thinking about for the Oscar!";)

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

no love for Spa Night?No way that had a budget of over a million

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterCineJAB

Andrew Rech: Of the "less than a million"crop,the only other one I can imagine having won is The Fits.There's a reason the Indie Spirits kind of became focused on "The Mini-Majors"and not "true indies".The fields are usually fallow,maybe only one or two major passion inducing works a year.

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Oh god,The Fits should have been the "sweeper"here heh.And I loathe lumping actors and actresses into one category,split it into male/female next time.Surprised no documentary category too.

February 23,2017 | Unregistered CommenterKirby

I personally hate lumping all gendered performances into one category....Separate them!More opportunities to honour great work.The Village Voice Film Poll's were like that and it used to drive me daft.

February 24,2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmandaBuffamonteezi

Wooop,delighted THE EYES OF MY MOTHER won something!I saw it at the London film festival and it truly was a one-of-a-kind experience.Afterwards there was a Q&A with director Nicholas Pesce....who I discovered is the same age as me!Eek!

February 24,2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Naming an award for a film made between 1-3 million after Michael Cimino is really funny.

February 24,2017 | Unregistered CommenterAR

I've actually seen one of these movies,Blue Jay,because it was filmed in my home town.I'm a little surprised they didn't nominate Sarah Paulson for something because I can't imagine many indie performances better than hers.So I guess I'm saying I hope they don't block "big names"just "because"when those names are actually in these micro budget movies.

February 24,2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Volvagia,you're not watching the right movies if you think that.

February 25,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Volvagia -- what Glenn said.

Dave -- i still haven't seen that one!

AR -- agreed

Emma -- i think one of our contributors is doing a piece on that soon.stay tuned

Amanda & Kirby -- totally

Andrew -- couldn't agree more.I dont like Krisha and it feels like a film school experiment / work to me.Rather than a realized focused vision like The Fits which is so so good.

February 25,2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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