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29th Annual IFP Gotham Award Winners Announced

by Chase Harrison on December 3, 2019

for Best Feature and Best Documentary

Best Actor and Best Actress Awards

MARRIAGE STORY Wins a Total of 4 Awards including the Gotham Audience Award

New York, NY (Monday, December 2, 2019) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) last night announced the winners of the 29th Annual IFP Gotham Awards at a ceremony held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Winning Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and the Gotham Audience Award was Marriage Story, director Noah Baumbach’s passionate dissection of a marriage’s deterioration as a loving couple are torn apart by different evolving needs – and different coasts. Adam Driver was voted Best Actor for his performance as Charlie, a driven NYC theater director emotionally unmoored when his roles of husband and parent do not play out in real life according to his original concept. Baumbach’s wins as writer, director and producer are his first personal Gotham Awards, having been nominated previously for his screenplay of While We’re Young in 2015 and as director of Best Feature nominee Margot at the Wedding in 2007.

The award for Best Documentary went to American Factory, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, which charts the complex and uneasy cross-cultural labor and personal dynamics that arise when a Chinese billionaire reopens a shuttered former General Motors plant in Ohio to produce auto-glass for China’s Fuyao Glass manufacturer – bringing hundreds of Chinese workers to the heartland to work beside previously laid off auto workers.

Winning the award for Best Actress was Awkwafina for her delicate dramatic-comic performance at the center of director Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, portraying a young woman fighting against her instinct for honesty when she is coerced by her family to return from NYC to attend a large family wedding in China – a pretext for everyone to spend time with grandmother Nai Nai (diagnosed with terminal cancer) one last time – without revealing that diagnosis.

In the Gothams’ “breakthrough” categories, Taylor Russell won the Breakthrough Actor award for her quiet stealth bomb of a performance that eventually becomes the central beating heart of Waves, in which her character of Emily silently shoulders much on her family’s trauma. Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre received the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director award for directing The Mustang, her impressive first feature, which tells the story of a rage-filled, violent prisoner selected to participate in a prison rehab program that involves the training of captured wild mustangs for auction.

For breakthrough achievement in television, meant to honor new series that “expand the possibilities of creative, independent storytelling and enriches the landscape or pushes the boundaries of ‘television,’” two awards were given. The Breakthrough Series–Long Format award for series with episodes over 40 minutes, was won by When They See Us, the powerful and coruscating miniseries created by Ava DuVernay, that dramatizes the history of the young men known as the Central Park Five from their initial arrests in1989 through the fight for justice and their exoneration as adult men in 2002. The Breakthrough Series–Short Format award for new series with episodes less than 40 minutes, went to Hulu’s comedy series PEN15, about two friends’ anxious and awkward years in middle school, enacted by Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine, two of the series three creators, who play lightly fictionalized versions of their 7th grade selves among a cast of real 13-year-olds.

Career Tributes were also given during the ceremony to actors Laura Dern (presented by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach) and Sam Rockwell (presented by Olivia Wilde), director Ava DuVernay (presented by Vera Farmiga), and producer and Founding Chairman and CEO of FilmNation Entertainment, Glen Basner (presented by Edward Burns).

Also during the ceremony:

The “Made in NY” Award, given by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) to honor excellence in New York City’s creative community, was presented by Commissioner Anne del Castillo to Emmy Award-winning director, producer, writer and disability rights activist Jason DaSilva.

Alfre Woodard announced IFP’s inaugural ‘Impact Storytelling Salute’ given this year to the Rockefeller Foundation in recognition of the powerful impact that their SOLVABLE campaign is making in lives of millions around the world. Through SOLVABLE the Rockefeller Foundation has created 48 short documentary films that engagingly focus on crucial issues like world hunger, lack of access to clean water and maternal mortality. In a prepared statement the Rockefeller Foundation charge “storytellers throughout the world to dare to use your voice to spread optimism and share inspiring real world solutions to the many challenges facing our planet.”

Julia Stiles announced IFP’s inception of a Student Short Film Showcase, supported by sponsoring partners JetBlue and Focus Features. The showcase spotlights five outstanding thesis films by students at NYC area film schools. The filmmakers not only receive a generous cash award, their films will also be featured on JetBlue’s inflight entertainment systems for 6 months across the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, and have a theatrical screening and be made available for digital streaming through Focus Features. The winning films and filmmakers highlighted during the ceremony were Bob and Dale, David Melvin Rosfeld (CUNY Feirstein); Darling, Saim Sadiq (Columbia University); Keeper of Earth and Time, Tiantian Wang (SVA); Mizaru, Sudarshan Suresh (Columbia University); and Youth, Farida Zahran (NYU). The jury selecting the winning films, managed by the project head Opal Bennet, was Bilge Ebiri, Eric Hynes, and Lucy Mukerjee.

The Gotham Award ceremony was streamed on

The 29th Annual Gotham Award recipients are:
For Best Feature, presented by Uma Thurman
Marriage Story
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Produced by Noah Baumbach and David Heyman
Released by Netflix
The Best Feature jury included Scott Cooper, Rachel Morrison, Josh Penn, Uma Thurman, and Aisha Tyler.

For Best Documentary, presented by Constance Wu
American Factory
Directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Produced by Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, and Julie Parker Benello
Released by Netflix
The Best Documentary jury included Susan Bedusa, Marshall Curry, Barbara Kopple, RaMell Ross, and Sandi Tan.

For the IFP Gotham Audience Award, presented by Natasha Lyonne
Marriage Story
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Produced by Noah Baumbach and David Heyman
Released by Netflix
The Audience Award was voted for online by IFP members.

For Best Actor, presented by Jennifer Lopez
Adam Driver in Marriage Story
Released by Netflix
The Best Actor jury included Daveed Diggs, Melanie Lynskey, Douglas McGrath, John Penotti, and Joel Schumacher.

For Best Actress, presented by Daveed Diggs
Awkwafina in The Farewell
Released by A24
The Best Actress jury included Wendy Finerman, Elizabeth Karlsen, Christopher Meloni, Yen Tan, and Debra Winger

For Best Screenplay, presented by Tracy Letts
Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story
Released by Netflix
The Best Screenplay jury included Lisa Cortés, Tracey Edmonds, Peter Hedges, Bill Holderman, and Susanna Styron
For Breakthrough Actor, presented by Jeremy O. Harris

Taylor Russell in Waves
Released by A24
The Breakthrough Actor jury included Mollye Asher, Chadwick Boseman, Annette Davey, Evan Hayes, and Crystal Moselle.

For Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director, presented by Willem Dafoe
Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre for The Mustang
Released by Focus Features
The Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director jury included Haifaa Al-Mansour, Scott Franklin, Regina Hall, Riva Marker, and Alexandre Moors.

For Breakthrough Series – Long Format, presented by Beanie Feldstein and Elisabeth Moss
When They See Us
Created by Ava DuVernay; Executive Produced by Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Berry Welsh, Oprah Winfrey, and Ava DuVernay
The Breakthrough Series – Long Format jury included Emily V Gordon, Steven Katz, Jayme Lemons, Adrian Lester, and Vera Miao

For Breakthrough Series – Short Format, presented by Beanie Feldstein and Elisabeth Moss
Created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman
Executive Produced by Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman, Debbie Liebling, Gabe Liedman, Marc Provissiero, Brooke Pobjoy, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Becky Sloviter, Shelley Zimmerman, Brin Lukens, and Jordan Levin
The Breakthrough Series – Short Format jury included Ryan Cunningham, Cory Finley, Paul Sparks, Julia Stiles, and Vanessa Williams.

For images and clips from the ceremony:

The Premier Sponsor of the 2019 IFP Gotham Awards is The New York Times, and the Philanthropic Supporter is The Rockefeller Foundation. The Official Water Partner is FIJI Water, the Official Airline Partner is JetBlue, the Official Wine Partner is Robert Hall Winery and the Official Auto Partner is Cadillac.

About IFP
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include IFP Week, IFP Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, IFP Gotham Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, an incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents an ever-growing network of 10,000+ storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 41-year history, IFP has supported over 12,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000+ filmmakers. More info at

About the IFP Gotham Awards
The IFP Gotham Awards, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

For more information, go here.

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