IFP/New York has moved tobolster the awards season credibility of its annual Gotham Awards by switchingthe gala date from September to December and introducing two new awards.

The 14th Annual GothamAwards will take place on Dec 1, when for the first time awards will bepresented for best feature and best documentary.

In a further development,these and certain other awards will break with Gotham Awards tradition and beavailable to film-makers from outside New York City.

Rigorous new qualificationcriteria, which will be announced in full in July, will require the pictures tooffer a creative vision, demonstrate the potential to stand the test of timeand the ability to change the face of cinema.

The Celebrate New Yorksection encompasses breakthrough actor, breakthrough director (formerly theOpen Palm Award) and an industry tribute.

The Honoured By New Yorksection comprises three tributes presented to individuals outside the New Yorkfilm community who have had a significant impact on new trends in cinema,either domestically or internationally.

Finally the best feature anddocumentary honours is being styled as national film honours that may or maynot have ties to New York.

"IFP/New York is excitedabout the expansion of the Gotham Awards and the proximity to end of the yearawards consideration," executive director Michelle Byrd said in a statement.

"With best feature and bestdocumentary, IFP/New York is able to recognise fine film-making from allreaches of the industry while still affirming New York's role as a creative capitalof the film community."

Past Gotham Awardsrecipients include Robert De Niro, Spike Lee, Meryl Streep, Maggie Gyllenhaaland Darren Aronofsky.