Christopher Nolan's independent smash Memento dominated the IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, which were presented in a tent on a beach in Santa Monica on Saturday.

The awards which honour films and film-makers who embody independence and challenge the status quo traditionally take place the day before the Academy Awards. This year the event drew a large crowd of celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Cristina Ricci, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Heather Graham, Benjamin Bratt, Gillian Anderson, Andy Garcia, Dennis Quaid, Stockard Channing, Ben Kingsley, Joaquin Phoenix and Ian McKellen.

Memento took four awards - best feature for producers Jennifer & Suzanne Todd, best director and best screenplay for Nolan and best supporting actress for Carrie-Anne Moss.

Todd Field's In The Bedroom also scored, taking the best first feature for Field, best male lead for Tom Wilkinson and best female lead for Sissy Spacek.

Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World won for best first screenplay for Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes and best supporting male for Steve Buscemi. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie was named best foreign film.

Other winners included Paul Franklin Dano who won the debut performance Spirit award for L.I.E., Michael and Mark Polish's Jackpot which won the John Cassavetes Award (for best feature under $500,000) and Peter Deming who won best cinematography for Mulholland Drive.

Films which walked away empty-handed included Henry Bean's Sundance 2001 winner The Believer, which is currently screening on Showtime in the US, and John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig & The Angry Inch which was a popular favorite at the same festival.

At the colourful ceremony hosted by John Waters, Rene Bastian and Linda Moran, the producers of Martin & Orloff and L.I.E., won the Motorola Producers Award "which honours producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films."

Meanwhile Debra Eisenstadt, director of Daydream Believer, won the Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Someone To Watch Award, a $20,000 grant created to honour a director who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

Monteith McCollum, director of Hybrid, won the DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features.


Best Feature Memento (Jennifer & Suzanne Todd, producers)

Best First Feature Todd Field In The Bedroom

Best Foreign Film Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director)

John Cassavetes Award (for best feature under $500,000) Jackpot (Michael Polish, director; Mark Polish & Michael Polish, writer/producers)

Best Director Christopher Nolan Memento

Best Screenplay Christopher Nolan Memento

Best First Screenplay Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff Ghost World

Best Male Lead Tom Wilkinson In The Bedroom

Best Female Lead Sissy Spacek In The Bedroom

Best Supporting Male Steve Buscemi Ghost World

Best Supporting Female Carrie-Anne Moss Memento

Best Debut Performance Paul Franklin Dano L.I.E.

Best Cinematographer Peter Deming Mulholland Drive