Film Independent President Josh Welsh announced today that actress Jessica Chastain (The Martian, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Tree of Life) has been named Honorary Chair for this year’s Spirit Awards. Chastain was nominated for a Spirit Award for her work in Take Shelter (2012) and A Most Violent Year (2015). Past Chairs include Kerry Washington, Tom Cruise, Benecio Del Toro, Angela Bassett, Jeremy Renner, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Robert Duvall, Jodie Foster, Danny Glover, Harvey Keitel, Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Julianne Moore, Martin Scorsese and John Travolta.
Also announced today, actors John Boyega (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Attack the Block, The Circle, Imperial Dreams) and Elizabeth Olsen (I Saw the Light, Old Boy, Silent House, Martha Marcy May Marlene) will present the 2016 nominees in a press conference at 10:00 am PT on Tuesday, November 24 at The W Hollywood. The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27, 2016, LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.
“We’re so honored to have Jessica as our Honorary Chair at this year’s Spirit Awards,” said Welsh. “As a past Spirit Award nominee and someone whose work as an actor and producer embodies the qualities we celebrate at Film Independent, I can’t think of a more suitable Honorary Chair for this exciting celebration of artist-driven filmmaking. Our press conference hosts are also great friends of Film Independent. John Boyega’s Attack the Block had a Gala presentation at the LA Film Festival in 2011 and Olsen is a past Spirit Award nominee for Martha Marcy May Marlene (2012).”
This year marks the 31st edition of the awards show that celebrates the best of independent film. Announced earlier this month, Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions returns for his second year as executive producer of the show held in its usual tent on the beach in Santa Monica, in a new location this year just north of the Santa Monica Pier. Producer Shawn Davis returns for his 14th show and Rick Austin returns for his second year as producer.
Spirit Awards are given out 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 International Film, Best Documentary and Best Editing. The Filmmaker Awards include the Piaget Producers Award, the Truer Than Fiction Award and the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award.