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Todd Haynes to Receive Director Tribute at IFP’s 25th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards

by Erik Luers on August 6, 2015

New York, NY (August 6, 2015) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier member organization of independent filmmakers and storytellers, announced today that Todd Haynes will be presented with this year’s Director Tribute at the 25th Annual IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards. Signaling the official kick-off for the film awards season, the Gotham Awards is one of the leading honors for independent film and provides critical early recognition to worthy independent films and their writers, directors, producers, and actors. Anchoring the evening’s competitive awards are tributes to film community icons, including the Director Tribute, as well as an Industry tribute and an Actor/Actress to be announced.

Each year, the Director Tribute is awarded to a veteran filmmaker with unique vision who has made a significant contribution to the motion picture industry. Todd Haynes exemplifies the true independent spirit, with a career spanning over the last three decades and a truly extraordinary and uncompromising body of work. Haynes made his directorial debut in 1987 with the controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, using Barbie dolls to portray the life and death of singer Karen Carpenter. His feature film debut followed in 1991 with the provocative Poison, which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance, spearheading what would become known as the New Queer Cinema. Haynes’s second feature, Safe, was later voted the best film of the 90’s by the Village Voice’s Critic Poll. Haynes’s next film, Velvet Goldmine, premiered in Official Selection at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Prize. This was followed by Far From Heaven (2002), which received four Oscar nominations, including one for Haynes’ Original Screenplay. His 2007 film, I’m Not There, imagined the life and work of Bob Dylan through the guise of seven fictional characters, and once again won him mass critical acclaim. In 2011, Haynes directed and co-wrote Mildred Pierce, a five-hour mini-series, which garnered 21 Emmy nominations, winning five of them, in addition to three Golden Globes Awards. His latest feature film, Carol, premiered in the Official Selection of the 2015 Cannes Films Festival, where Rooney Mara was awarded the prize for Best Actress. The much-anticipated film, which also stars Cate Blanchett, is scheduled for release in November 2015.

“We are thrilled to present the Director Tribute to Todd Haynes in our 25th Anniversary year” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director, IFP and Made in NY Media Center. “Todd’s career exemplifies precisely the kind of visionary, independent filmmaking the Gotham Awards first began championing in 1991. We’re also honored to celebrate screenwriting this year for the first time, finally giving due credit to the significance of this craft to independent film as an art form.”

A new award in 2015, the Best Screenplay Award now marks eight competitive awards presented by the Gothams. Best Screenplay will be awarded to an outstanding screenplay for an independent fiction feature. The screenplay may be an original work or one adapted from previously published or existing work in any medium. The IFP Gotham Independent Film Award will be presented to the film’s credited writers.

The eight competitive Gotham Awards include Best Feature, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Documentary, Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Audience Award, and now Best Screenplay. Recent past winners include Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), CITIZENFOUR, and Boyhood (2014) Inside Lleywn Davis, Fruitvale Station and The Act of Killing (2013); Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild and How to Survive a Plague (2012); Beginners, The Tree of Life and Better This World (2011); all of which went on to win numerous awards and garner Oscar nominations.

Last year the organization honored director Bennett Miller, actress Tilda Swinton, and Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

Todd Haynes and the additional Gotham Awards tribute recipients to be announced will join a prestigious group of previous honorees including: Jeff Skoll, James Schamus, Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sheila Nevins, Jonathan Sehring and film critic Roger Ebert; actors Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, and Penélope Cruz; filmmakers David O. Russell, David Cronenberg, Mira Nair and Gus Van Sant.

Each year IFP chooses a jury of innovators and icons in documentary and feature film directing, producing, cinematography, and acting to bestow the Gotham’s competitive awards. Once again this year, the Gotham Audience Award (the only non-juried category) will be open to voting by IFP Members worldwide as a benefit of membership. Voting will take place online in November.

For the fifth year, IFP will present the euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers Live the Dream grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumnus of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging female directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film. The 2014 winner of this grant was director, writer, and producer Chloé Zhao, whose film Songs My Brothers Taught Me premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, euphoria Calvin Klein will present the annual Best Actress award.

Submissions are now being accepted in seven of the competitive categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress, Breakthrough Actor, Best Screenplay, and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award. Applications, along with full criteria, are available at

The deadline for submissions is September 17th.

Nominees will be announced on October 22nd and winners will be honored at a star-studded ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 30th.

The Premier Sponsors of the 25th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards are Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and The New York Times, and the Platinum Sponsor is euphoria Calvin Klein. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times in November 2015.


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 Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents a 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 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at

About the Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP

The Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP, 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:



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