Gotham Independent Film Awards Nominees Announced; Lance Hammer's Ballast Receives Four Nominations including Best Feature, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor and Best Ensemble Performance

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Six titles receive two nominations each including Afterschool; Frozen River; Rachel Getting Married; Synecdoche, New York; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; and The Visitor

Contradicting the doom and gloom stories about the state of independent film, 2008 has proven to be an extremely strong year for an immensely diverse group of filmmakers tackling a range of subjects and forms in new and dynamic ways

IFP announced today the nominees for the 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ which will take place on Tuesday, December 2nd at New York City's Cipriani Wall Street. It also announced the new name for the awards, making the subtle shift from the Gotham Awards to the Gotham Independent Film Awards™.

Presented by IFP, the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film and the first major honors of the film awards season. The awards provide critical early recognition for worthy independent films, such as past winners Juno (2007), Half Nelson (2006), and Junebug (2005) - all of which went on to earn numerous awards and Oscar™ nominations for their stars Ellen Page, Ryan Gosling, and Amy Adams, respectively.

Garnering four separate nominations - the most for this year - is Ballast, Lance Hammer's directorial debut and multiple-award winner from festivals as diverse as Sundance, Berlin, Deauville and others. The film is currently being self-distributed by Hammer's Alluvial Film Company with the help of marketing consultant Steven Raphael's Required Viewing. It was nominated for Best Feature, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor and Best Ensemble Performance.

Six films received two nominations, including Antonio Campos' directorial debut from Cannes Afterschool; Courtney Hunt's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Frozen River; Jonathan Demme's current release Rachel Getting Married; Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut from Cannes Synecdoche, New York; Woody Allen's latest Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Tom McCarthy's sophomore effort, The Visitor.

A total of 22 films received nominations in six categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™.

New this year, the recipient of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ will receive a cash award of $15,000 provided by Artists Public Domain, the non-profit dedicated to supporting the artistic vision of filmmakers working outside of the commercial mainstream, and D.R. Reiff & Associates Inc., a full service brokerage firm specializing in Arts & Entertainment Insurance.

"Contradicting the doom and gloom stories about the state of independent film, 2008 has proven to be an extremely strong year for an immensely diverse group of filmmakers tackling a range of subjects and forms in new and dynamic ways," says Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP. "Impressively, nearly 50% of our titles are directorial debuts."

IFP previously announced that actor Penélope Cruz, president of HBO Documentary Films' Sheila Nevins, and filmmakers Gus Van Sant and Melvin Van Peebles will be presented with Tributes at this year's awards ceremony.

Selecting this year's nominees were 18 critics, journalists, and film programmers (see list below). Final award recipients will be determined by separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, casting directors, composers and others directly involved in making films. The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award will be determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator from The Museum of Modern Art.

The 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Award™ nominees are:

Best Feature

Ballast
Lance Hammer, director; Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh, producers (Alluvial Film Company)

Frozen River
Courtney Hunt, director; Heather Rae, Chip Hourihan, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman, director; Anthony Bregman, Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Visitor
Tom McCarthy, director; Mary Jane Skalski, Michael London, producers (Overture Films)

The Wrestler
Darren Aronofsky, director; Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best Documentary

Chris & Don: A Love Story
Guido Santi & Tina Mascara, directors; Julia Scott, Tina Mascara, Guido Santi, James White, producers (Zeitgeist Films)

Encounters at the End of the World
Werner Herzog, director; Henry Kaiser, producer (THINKFilm / Image Entertainment)

Man on Wire
James Marsh, director; Simon Chinn, producer (Magnolia Pictures)

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Maria Zenovich, director; Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Lila Yacoub, Marina Zenovich, producers (THINKFilm in association with HBO Documentaries)

Trouble the Water
Tia Lessin & Carl Deal, producers/directors (Zeitgeist Films)

Best Ensemble Performance

Ballast
Micheal J. Smith, Sr., JimMyron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail (Alluvial Film Company)

Rachel Getting Married
Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George, Debra Winger (Sony Pictures Classics)

Synecdoche, New York
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan (Sony Pictures Classics)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz (The Weinstein Company)

The Visitor
Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbas, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira (Overture Films)

Breakthrough Director

Antonio Campos for Afterschool
Dennis Dortch for A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy (Magnolia Pictures)
Lance Hammer for Ballast (Alluvial Film Company)
Barry Jenkins for Medicine for Melancholy (IFC Films)
Alex Rivera for Sleep Dealer (Maya Releasing)

Breakthrough Actor

Pedro Castaneda in August Evening (Maya Releasing)
Rosemarie DeWitt in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
Rebecca Hall in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
Alejandro Polanco in Chop Shop (Koch Lorber Films)
Micheal J. Smith, Sr. in Ballast (Alluvial Film Company)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™

Afterschool
Antonio Campos, director; Josh Mond, Sean Durkin, producers

Meadowlark
Taylor Greeson, producer/director

The New Year Parade
Tom Quinn, director; Steve Beal, Tom Quinn, producers

Sita Sings the Blues
Nina Paley, producer/director

Wellness
Jake Mahaffy, director; Jake Mahaffy, Jeff Clark, producers

The nominating committees for the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ announced above are as follows:

Nominating Committee for Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance:
Ty Burr, Film Critic, The Boston Globe
Scott Foundas, Film Editor / Film Critic, LA Weekly
Dave Karger, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Carrie Rickey, Film Critic, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Nominating Committee for Breakthrough Director and Breakthrough Actor:
Cynthia Fuchs, Film Critic, PopMatters and NPR.org
Robert Koehler, Film Critic, Variety
Rob Nelson, Film Critic, Minnesota Post
Andrew O'Hehir, Senior Writer, Salon.com

Nominating Committee for Best Documentary:
Cynthia Fuchs, Film Critic, PopMatters and NPR.org
Owen Gleiberman, Film Critic, Entertainment Weekly
Tom Hall, Director of Programming, Sarasota Film Festival
Ronnie Scheib, Film Critic, Variety

Nominating Committee for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™:
Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Media, Museum of Modern Art;
and members of the editorial staff of Filmmaker Magazine: Scott Macaulay (Editor-in-Chief), Nick Dawson, Mary Glucksman, Jason Guerrasio, Brandon Harris, Ray Pride

2008 Gotham Independent Film Awards™ - Alphabetical List of Nominated Films

Afterschool
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee
Breakthrough Director nominee

August Evening
Breakthrough Actor nominee

Ballast
Best Feature nominee
Best Ensemble Performance nominee
Breakthrough Actor nominee
Breakthrough Director nominee

Chop Shop
Breakthrough Actor nominee

Chris & Don: A Love Story
Best Documentary nominee

Encounters at the End of the World
Best Documentary nominee

Frozen River
Best Feature nominee
Breakthrough Actor nominee

A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy
Breakthrough Director nominee

Man on Wire
Best Documentary nominee

Meadowlark
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee

Medicine for Melancholy
Breakthrough Director nominee

The New Year Parade
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee

Rachel Getting Married
Best Ensemble Performance nominee
Breakthrough Actor nominee

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Best Documentary nominee

Sita Sings the Blues
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee

Sleep Dealer
Breakthrough Director nominee

Synecdoche, New York
Best Feature nominee
Best Ensemble Performance nominee

Trouble the Water
Best Documentary nominee

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Ensemble Performance nominee
Breakthrough Actor nominee

The Visitor
Best Feature nominee
Best Ensemble Performance nominee

Wellness
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee

The Wrestler
Best Feature nominee

Sponsors of the 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ include Premiere sponsors The New York Times and Nokia. Presenting sponsors are A DIAMOND IS FOREVER, Focus Features, Stella Artois and Variety. Official Spirit ABSOLUT VODKA. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times this December.

About IFP
After debuting with a program in the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers--voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP believes that independent films enrich the universal language of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. The organization has fostered early work by leading filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith. For more information: http://www.ifp.org.

Our programs provide filmmakers with access to the tools to develop and present their vision, and audiences with an opportunity to discover new work. Our signature programs include the Gotham Independent Film Awards™, Independent Film Week™, Filmmaker Magazine™, and the Independent Filmmaker Labs.

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