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Alia Shawkat and John Cho will host the upcoming Spirit Awards nominees brunch on Jan. 6 and announce the winners of five cash grants. (What independent filmmaker couldn’t use actual money instead of just a trophy?)
“John Cho and Alia Shawkat are both such fantastically talented actors, in independent film and beyond, so we couldn't be happier to have them hosting our Spirit Awards brunch,” Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent, which puts on the Spirit Awards, said in a statement.
Also in a statement, Shawkat captured the freewheeling spirit of the event: “I’m very excited to host the Spirit Awards brunch, as I love brunch and independent cinema.”
This will mark the first year for the Bonnie Award, named for Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. The $50,000 unrestricted grant goes to a mid-career female director. This year’s nominees are So Yong Kim, Lynn Shelton and Chloé Zhao.
This also will be the first year for the Seattle Story Award, which includes a $25,000 cash grant to create a short film inspired by the city of Seattle, which will premiere during the broadcast of the Spirit Awards.
There will be three other unrestricted $25,000 cash grants announced.
The Truer Than Fiction award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features. The nominees are Shevaun Mizrahi (“Distant Constellation”), Jonathan Olshefski (“Quest”) and Jeff Unay (“The Cage Fighter”).
The Someone to Watch award recognizes a filmmaker of singular vision who has not received appropriate recognition. This year’s nominees are Amman Abbasi (“Dayveon”), Justin Chon (“Gook”) and Kevin Phillips (“Super Dark Times”).
The Producers Award honors emerging producers who demonstrate creativity, tenacity and vision. The nominees are Ben LeClair, Summer Shelton and the team of Giulia Caruso and Ki Jin Kim.
The Spirit Awards ceremony is March 3.