Film Independent returns to Santa Monica Beach for 26TH Annual Spirit Awards

Ceremony to Air Exclusively on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT

Live Animals’ Audrey Morrissey and dick clark productions

to Executive Produce

LOS ANGELES (October 26, 2010) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced today that the 2011 Spirit Awards will return to its traditional Saturday afternoon on February 26 at the beach in Santa Monica. Red carpet arrivals will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the ceremony scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. The awards ceremony will air on IFC in primetime on February 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The nominations press conference will take place on Tuesday, November 30, and all past Spirit Award winners and nominees will be eligible to vote for this year’s winners.

Over the past 25 years, the event has been held at various locations in Los Angeles, including 385 North Restaurant, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Beverly Hills Hotel, Raleigh Studios, the Historic Hollywood Palladium, the Santa Monica beach, and in honor of last year’s 25th Anniversary, a Friday night at the Event Deck at L.A. LIVE.

“We are delighted to return to the Santa Monica beach for our 26th Spirit Awards, and look forward to celebrating the afternoon with the nominees and our filmmaking community,” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. “We have assembled a magnificent team with our longtime broadcast partner IFC, dick clark productions, and new executive producer Audrey Morrissey to deliver a fun show that recognizes the bold work of these independent filmmakers.”

“We’re thrilled to once again be the exclusive home of the Spirit Awards,” said Jennifer Caserta, Executive Vice President & General Manager of IFC. “This year’s move back to the beach represents the true indie spirit of the Awards, while IFC’s primetime premiere of the show is well positioned to reach the largest possible audience of viewers who revel in indie film and culture.”

Live Animals’ Audrey Morrissey will serve as the new Executive Producer, alongside dick clark productions and Barry Adelman, who return for a second year. Morrissey, a veteran of MTV, has executive produced award shows, music specials, reality series, music videos and promos. Most recently, she executive produced the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, the 2010 People’s Choice Awards, and the 2009 MTV Latin American VMAs. Before forming Live Animals, Morrissey joined Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris as the Head of Television for their online music venture,, where she executive produced 65 episodes of the weekly music series on USA Network. Prior to that, Morrissey spent 9 years at MTV in their music and specials division working on their high profile music series and annual event specials such as Unplugged, VMAs, Movie Awards, Fashionably Loud, Spring Break and the Rock n’ Jock franchise.

“I'm honored to be joining the Film Independent Spirit Awards, a show that I've been a fan of for years and one that recognizes the tireless work, unflagging dedication, and strong, vital voices of independent filmmakers,“ said Morrissey.

As the first event to exclusively honor independent film, the Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards show for the independent film community. Artists receiving industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.

Last year’s host was acclaimed comedian Eddie Izzard with major winners including Lionsgate’s Precious, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best First Screenplay, Best Female Lead, and Best Supporting Female; Fox Searchlight’s Crazy Heart, which won Best First Feature, and Best Male Lead; Fox Searchlight’s (500) Days of Summer, which won Best Screenplay; Abramaorama’s Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which won Best Documentary; Sony Pictures Classics’ An Education, which won Best Foreign Film; Magnolia Pictures’ Humpday, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Oscilloscope Laboratories’ The Messenger, which won Best Supporting Male; and Focus Features’ A Serious Man, which won Best Cinematography.

In addition to celebrating the talented nominees and winners at the ceremony, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivates the careers of independent filmmakers and promotes diversity in the film industry. Year-round sponsors, Spirit Circle members and Industry Circle members receive the option to purchase tickets and tables to the gala beginning today.

This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, ELLE, Piaget and Jameson Irish Whiskey. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.


The Film Independent Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.

Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award. The Filmmaker Grants include Someone to Watch Award, Truer Than Fiction Award, and Producers Award.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, ELLE, Piaget and Jameson Irish Whiskey. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, photo and video galleries, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit

Film Independent is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, are comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry leader, or a film lover.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent’s mentorship and job placement program, Project:Involve, pairs emerging culturally diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.

Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and originality.

For more information or to become a member, visit