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Robert Duvall, Hilary Swank, Darren Aronofsky and James Schamus to Receive Career Tributes at IFP’s 20th Anniverary Gotham Independent Film Awards

by Website Update on September 8, 2011

New York, NY (September 30, 2010) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, announced today that director Darren Aronofsky, actors Hilary Swank and Robert Duvall, and Focus Features CEO, James Schamus, will each be presented with a career Tribute at the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards™ on Monday, November 29th at Cipriani Wall Street, New York, New York.

Signaling the official kick-off to the film awards season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film. Anchoring the evening’s seven competitive awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You and the new Festival Genius Audience Award, are four Tributes to film community icons.

This year’s Tribute selection represents a range of individuals – all veterans well-versed in the journey between lower-budget independent films and large-scale studio releases. In addition, the honorees represent some of the most critically acclaimed and highly anticipated films including: Get Low from Sony Pictures Classics (directed by Aaron Schneider and featuring Robert Duvall); the upcoming Fox Searchlight release Conviction (directed by Tony Goldwyn and featuring Hilary Swank); Black Swan from Fox Searchlight (directed by Darren Aronofsky); and Focus Features’ The Kids are All Right
(James Schamus, CEO).

“We are moved and honored to give tribute to four cinematic film luminaries, all of whom have had their roots in independent film, and have steadfastly focused on the art of film, irrespective of the size of the budget of their work” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of the IFP. “This year’s tributes personify independent spirit and have created an astonishing breadth of work that we are proud to celebrate. James Schamus won the producing award in 1996 and Darren Aronofsky was our Breakthrough Director in 1998. We are thrilled to honor them again for their deserving careers. Robert Duvall and Hilary Swank’s work have enriched our lives; from the smallest of indies to the largest of Hollywood features, we are in awe of their talent and look forward to what lies ahead.”

A leading man since the 1960s, ROBERT DUVALL (Felix Bush) has specialized in taciturn cowboys, fierce leaders and driven characters of all types. Respected by his peers and adored by audiences worldwide, he has earned numerous Oscar® nominations for his performances in The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Great Santini and The Apostle. Duvall won the Academy Award® as Best Actor for his role in Tender Mercies, and later earned the Golden Globe for his performance in the title role of HBO‘s Stalin. More recently, Duvall was honored with the Golden Globe and Emmy Award for his iconic portrayal of Print Ritter in AMC‘s Broken Trail. Duvall made his big screen debut in 1962, as the creepy Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird. He has gone on to star in such classics as Bullitt, True Grit, M*A*S*H, The Conversation, Network, The Natural, Colors, Days Of Thunder, A Handmaid’s Tale, Rambling Rose, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Phenomenon, A Civil Action, Open Range, and Thank You For Smoking, among many others. As a director and producer, Duvall got behind the camera for his labor of love project The Apostle in which he also starred. The film went on to earn many accolades, including being named on over seventy-five film critics and Top 10 Films for 1997 lists. He also wrote, produced and starred in Assassination Tango. Duvall was most recently seen as the Old Man in The Road, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy and Get Low.

HILARY SWANK is the third youngest woman in history to win two Academy Awards® for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.” In addition to the Oscar for her performance in Boys Don’t Cry, Swank won the Golden Globe Award, The New York Film Critics Circle, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, The Chicago Film Critics and The Broadcast Film Critics Association awards for Best Actress. Swank then appeared in Sam Raimi’s, The Gift, in Christopher Nolan’s, Insomnia, and in the acclaimed HBO telefilm Iron Jawed Angels for which she was honored with both SAG and Golden Globe nominations for her performance. In 2004, Swank starred opposite Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman as the title character in Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. For this performance, she was honored with her second Academy Award® for Best Actress and also garnered prizes from the National Society of Film Critics, the Screen Actors Guild, The Broadcast Film Critics, and a Golden Globe for “Best Lead Actress in a Drama.” Swank has since starred in PS I Love You, Freedom Writers and this year’s much anticipated, Conviction, in which she plays Betty Anne Waters, a true life hero and mother who spent 18 years working her way through school to get her brother released from prison for a wrongful murder conviction.

DARREN ARONOFSKY exploded on the independent film scene with his 1998 Sundance Film Festival-winning film, π, where he received the Best Director award as well as accolades across the independent film world, winning the 1998 Breakthrough Directing Award from the Gotham Independent Film Awards and an Independent Spirit Award. Aronofsky then went on to direct the films Requiem for a Dream, for which Ellen Burstyn received both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award® nomination; The Fountain, starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz and The Wrestler, which garnered Academy Award® nominations for its stars Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei and won Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards. Aronofsky’s upcoming film, Black Swan, which will be released in December, stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassell, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder. Black Swan opened the 2010 Venice Film Festival and received critical acclaim at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

An integral contributor to the American independent film business for over two decades, JAMES SCHAMUS has the unique distinction of being an award-winning screenwriter and producer who is also a film executive. Additionally, he is Professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. His published work in the field includes Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Gertrud: The Moving Word, published in 2008. Prior to the formation of Focus Features, Schamus was co-president of the independent film production company Good Machine, which he co-founded in 1991. Schamus and his partners at the company produced over 40 films during an 11-year period, in partnership with filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Todd Solondz, and Nicole Holofcener. Through its financing and distribution arm, Good Machine International, the company represented dozens more filmmakers, among them Pedro Almodóvar and the Coen Brothers. Good Machine was honored with a 10-year retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and Schamus was honored with the 1996 Gotham Award for Producing with his producing partner Ted Hope. Schamus is also a screenwriter, and received Academy Award® nominations in the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song categories for his work on Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The blockbuster film, which Schamus co-wrote and executive-produced, won 4 Academy Awards®.

Schamus has had a long collaboration as writer and producer with Ang Lee on eleven feature films including Focus’ Brokeback Mountain, which won 3 Academy Awards®, 4 Golden Globes, 4 BAFTAs, and the Producers Guild of America’s top prize, the [Darryl F. Zanuck] Producer of the Year Award; Taking Woodstock; Lust, Caution; The Hulk; Ride with the Devil; The Ice Storm; The Wedding Banquet; Eat Drink Man Woman; and Pushing Hands. Schamus executive-produced several Good Machine features that won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, including Edward Burns’ The Brothers McMullen, Tom Noonan’s What Happened Was…, and Todd Haynes’ Poison. Schamus was honored with the NBC Screenwriter Tribute at the 2002 Nantucket Film Festival as well as with the Writers Guild of America, East’s 2003 Richard B. Jablow Award for devoted service to the Guild.

Focus’ celebrated releases have included seven more Academy Award® winners: Gus Van Sant’s Milk, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, and Joe Wright’s Atonement; and Henry Selick’s Coraline, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Burn After Reading and A Serious Man, Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, François Ozon’s Swimming Pool, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams. Domestically, the current Focus Features slate includes Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right; Anton Corbijn’s The American; Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story; and Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, which won the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the 2010 Venice International Film Festival.

This year’s Gotham Awards tribute recipients join a prestigious group of previous honorees including: actors Stanley Tucci, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Pénelope Cruz and Kate Winslet; filmmakers Mira Nair, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee and Martin Scorcese; executives Shelia Nevins (HBO Documentaries) and Jonathan Sehring (IFC Films); and film critic Roger Ebert.

Nominees for the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards™ will be announced on October 18th and winners will be honored at a star-studded ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29th.

The Premier sponsors of the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ are The New York Times and Royal Bank of Canada. The awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times.

About Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP)
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) is the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit advocacy organization for independent filmmakers. Since its debut at the 1979 New York Film Festival, IFP has supported the production of over 7,000 films and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, providing an opportunity for many diverse voices to be 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 championed early work by pioneering, independent filmmakers, including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith.

IFP represents a network of 10,000 filmmakers in New York City and around the world. Through its workshops, seminars, conferences, mentorships and Filmmaker Magazine, IFP schools its members in the art, technology and business of independent filmmaking. The year-round program includes an Independent Film Week, The Gotham Awards, Filmmaking Labs and Seminars, and a range of programs to promote racial, ethnic, religious, ideological, gender and sexual diversity. IFP, often in collaboration with other cultural institutions, builds audiences by hosting premieres and special screenings. The IFP fosters the development of 300 feature and documentary films each year. Recently, the organization licensed the popular Festival Genius software platform through which IFP now reaches over 200,000 film fans worldwide.

For more information:

About the Gotham Independent Film Awards™
The Gotham Independent Film 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 information on attending: