IFP announced today the final line-up of awards and nominees for its 15th Annual Gotham Awards, taking place in New York City on November 30. Critically acclaimed box office sensation MAD HOT BALLROOM will be honored with the Celebrate New York award as part of this year's ceremony. Additionally, nominees for the final competitive juried award, "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" (for films yet to receive theatrical distribution), were announced today.
This year's Celebrate New York Award will be presented to filmmakers Marilyn Agrelo and Amy Sewell for their debut documentary, MAD HOT BALLROOM. MAD HOT BALLROOM is the winner of numerous international film festival awards and was picked up for theatrical distribution by Paramount Classics following its premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival. The film is an inspiring look inside the lives of New York City public school kids on a journey into the world of competitive ballroom dancing.
"We are delighted to recognize Marilyn and Amy as part of this year's ceremony," says IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd. "MAD HOT BALLROOM made its first industry outing at the IFP Market in 2004 and to have its triumphant return as part of the Gothams underscores the ability of truly independent films to connect with a diversity of audiences."
IFP established the Celebrate New York Award in 2004 to recognize the tremendous accomplishments and vision of one of its own New York resident filmmakers. Last year's award was given to Michel Gondry's ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.
The "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" award is designed to bring greater industry recognition to a title that has yet to receive theatrical distribution. The nominees, and winner, will be selected by the editors of Filmmaker Magazine, a publication of IFP.
The five nominees for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" are:
Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side) directed by Natalia Almada
I Am a Sex Addict directed by Caveh Zahedi
In a Nutshell: A Portrait Of Elizabeth Tashjian directed by Don Bernier
Police Beat directed by Robinson Devor
Sir! No Sir! directed by David Zeiger
Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side) is Natalia Almada's documentary about an aspiring corrido composer from the drug capital of Mexico who faces two choices to better his life: to traffic drugs or to cross the border illegally into the United States. The film received its world premiere at the New York International Latino Film Festival in 2005. It will be broadcast on POV in late 2006.
I Am a Sex Addict is an autobiographical re-enactment of director Caveh Zahedi's struggle with sex addition. The film received its world premiere at the 2005 Rotterdam Film Festival.
In a Nutshell: A Portrait Of Elizabeth Tashjian. is Don Bernier's documentary about the goings-on of the Nut Museum and its curator, Elizabeth Yegsa Tashjian (aka, The Nut Lady). The film received its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2005.
Police Beat is Robinson Devor's unconventional crime film about an African immigrant turned Seattle bike cop who is preoccupied by his turbulent love life as he investigates a series of bizarre crimes (taken from actual Seattle police reports). The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be broadcast on the Sundance Channel in 2006.
Sir! No Sir! is former Vietnam Veteran David Zeiger's documentary chronicling the real front lines of dissension toward the War. The film premiered at the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival.
"For the past eleven years, Filmmaker has prided itself on discovering new films and filmmakers and championing them within the pages of our magazine," says Editor Scott Macaulay. "Now, we're pleased to have created with the IFP this new Gotham Award to throw an even brighter spotlight on five great independent features that any film lover needs to see."
As previously announced, Matt Dillon, fresh from the success of CRASH and soon to be seen in this February's release FACTOTUM, will be featured with a Gotham Awards Tribute. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch will also receive a Gotham Awards Tribute, covering his directorial accomplishments over two decades, from his debut film PERMANENT VACATION to his current success BROKEN FLOWERS. Additionally, this year's Gala Co-chairs are President of HBO Family and Documentary Sheila Nevins, and producer Bob Yari of Yari Film Group (CRASH, PRIME).
Gotham Award Presenting Sponsors include: Focus Features, The New York Times, NYC TV and Variety.
The annual Gotham Awards, presented by IFP, celebrate the authentic voices behind and in front of the camera in films made this year. By recognizing that the best films come from a place that is more firmly rooted in the grasp of filmmakers - and not made by committee - the Gotham Awards salute the innovative films and filmmakers whose passion and vision make their way onto the screen year after year.
IFP is a not-for-profit membership organization designed to foster a more sustainable infrastructure that supports independent filmmaking and ensures that the public has the opportunity to see films that more accurately reflect the full diversity of the American culture. Founded in 1979 and headquartered in NYC, IFP organizations can be found in Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Seattle and is part of an international network of organizations each supporting their own national filmmaking efforts (www.ifp.org).