Frozen River, a drama about illegal immigration, is directed by Courtney Hunt and produced by Heather Rae and Chip Hourihan. Tia Lessin & Carl Deal directed and produced Hurricane Katrina documentary Trouble The Water.
At the 18th annual Gothams, presented by IFP, the Breakthrough Director honours went to Lance Hammer for Ballast, which also won the best director award at Sundance.
The Gotham award for Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You, which comes with a new cash prize of $15,000, went to Nina Paley's Sita Sings The Blues. That winner was selected by the editors of IFP's Filmmaker magazine and a curator from the Museum of Modern Art.
Leading the performance categories, Melissa Leo won Breakthrough Actor for Frozen River.
The Best Ensemble Performance Award was shared by Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York and Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The Synedoche cast featured Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis & Tom Noonan; Vicky Cristina Barcelona starred Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz & Patricia Clarkson.
In addition, four previously announced tributes were presented to actress Penelope Cruz, HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, and film-makers Gus Van Sant and Melvin Van Peebles.
Actor/film-maker Aasif Mandvi hosted the ceremonies, held at New York's Cipriani Wall Street. Presenters included Debra Winger, Mickey Rourke, Michelle Williams, Amy Adams, Mira Nair, Dennis Hopper, and Rosemarie DeWitt.
A committee of 18 critics, journalists and programmers picked the nominees, and the eventual winners were selected by jurors including Steve Buscemi, Mira Nair, Whit Stillman, Barbara Kopple, Terry Zwigoff, Rebecca Miller, Frida Torresblanco, Ethan Hawke, and Amy Ryan