FocusFeatures' Lost In Translation emerged as the key winner at the IFP Independent Spirit Awardson Saturday, winning awards for best feature, best director, best male lead forBill Murray and best original screenplay.
A jubilant SofiaCoppola accepted three of those awards.
Oscar favouriteCharlize Theron took home the female lead prize for Monster and Monster itself also won the best first feature fordirector Patty Jenkins.
The only bignon-Oscar-nominated winner was Tom McCarthy's The Station Agent, which was picked up by Miramax Films afterits world premiere at Sundance last year. The film won best first feature under$500,000 (the John Cassavetes award) and best first screenplay and producerMary Jane Skalski too home the Producers Award - and an unrestricted grant of$20,000.
Other Oscar nomineeswalking away with Spirits included Djimon Hinsou who won best supporting malefor In America, ShohrehAghdashloo who won best supporting female in House Of Sand And Fog and Errol Morris who won best documentaryfeature for The Fog Of War.
The Spirits honourfilms made by film-makers who "embody independence and who dare tochallenge the status quo." Of course, with most of the winners financedby studio money, the line between real independent films and studio-backedindependent films is now a fine one.
FoxSearchlight's In Americaalso won the cinematography trophy for Declan Quinn and Searchlight pick-up Thirteenwon a prize for bestnewcomer for its co-writer and co-lead Nikki Reed.
The only independentdistributor that picked up awards was Newmarket Films which released Monsterand best foreign film winnerWhale Rider.
- Andrew Bujalski, the director of Funny HaHa, who won the tenth annualTurning Leaf Someone To Watch Award, a $20,000 grant created to honour adirector of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.
- Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk, directors of LostBoys Of Sudan, who won theseventh annual DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emergingdirector of non-fiction films, a film-maker of unique vision and talent who hasnot yet received significant attention.
- The film 21 Grams which won a special distinction award for director AlejandroGonzalez Inarritu, writer Guillermo Arriaga, producer Robert Salerno and starsSean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts. 21 Grams was ineligible for a Spirit Award becauseits budget exceeded the Spirit Awards nomination guidelines.
John Waters was hiscustomarily dry self as master of ceremonies, while the attendant crowdincluded superstar Tom Cruise, who served as honorary chair of the event,Jennifer Aniston, Hayden Christensen, Ian McKellen, Hilary Swank, PatriciaClarkson, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo and Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal.