The Wrestler was named best feature and won the best actor award for Mickey Rourke and the best cinematography award for Maryse Alberti at the 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards which took place today (Saturday) in Santa Monica.

The annual event, which honours films embodying independence and 'who dare to challenge the status quo', also saw Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona win awards for Allen's screenplay and for Penelope Cruz's supporting performance and Gus Van Sant's Milk take best first screenplay for Dustin Lance Black and best supporting actor for James Franco.

Tom McCarthy won the best director Spirit for The Visitor, Melissa Leo won the best actress prize for Frozen River, Laurent Cantet's The Class won best foreign film and James Marsh's Man On Wire best documentary. Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche New York won best first feature and the Robert Altman Award for ensemble cast.

Alex Holdridge's In Search Of A Midnight Kiss won the John Cassavetes Award for best feature made for under $500,000.

Other winners included Heather Rae, producer of Frozen River and Ibid, who took the $25,000 Piaget Producers Award which honours 'producers, who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films.'

Lynn Shelton, director of My Effortless Brilliance, won the $25,000 Acura Someone To Watch Award, honouring a 'talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.'

Margaret Brown, director of The Order Of Myths, won the $25,000 LACOSTE Truer Than Fiction Award presented to 'an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.'

Steve Coogan was master of ceremonies at the event which saw a starry turnout of presenters including Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Emile Hirsch, John C Reilly, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Eckhart and Claire Danes.