Awards & Winners

Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award

Independent Spirit Awards

The Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award is presented to the creative team of a film budgeted at less than $500,000 by Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers. It is named after actor/screenwriter/director John Cassavetes, a pioneer of American independent film. During the first year, the award was given to a feature film that featured a first-time director with the film being budgeted under $500,000. Films budgeted higher were eligible for the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. In 2001, the award was given to any feature film budgeted under $500,000 regardless of how many films the director has made.
The John Cassavetes Award is a category of the Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature produced for under $500K.
Date Established : 2000

Check all the winners of Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award presented under Independent Spirit Awards since 1991 .

Nekisa Cooper, Dee Rees

Honored for : Pariah

Nominations 2012 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Vincent Grashaw Bellflower
Evan Glodell Bellflower
Maryam Keshavarz Circumstance
Karin Chien Circumstance
Melissa M. Lee Circumstance
Adam Reid Hello Lonesome
Dee Rees Pariah
Nekisa Cooper Pariah
Matthew Gordon The Dynamiter
Kevin Abrams The Dynamiter
Art Jones The Dynamiter
Amile Wilson The Dynamiter
Brad Ingelsby The Dynamiter
Mike Jones The Dynamiter
Nate Tuck The Dynamiter
Merilee Holt The Dynamiter

Benny Safdie, Casey Neistat, Josh Safdie, Tom Scott

Honored for : Daddy Longlegs

Nominations 2011 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Benny Safdie Daddy Longlegs
Josh Safdie Daddy Longlegs
Casey Neistat Daddy Longlegs
Tom Scott Daddy Longlegs
So Yong Kim The Exploding Girl
Karin Chien The Exploding Girl
Bradley Rust Gray The Exploding Girl
Ben Howe The Exploding Girl
Matthew Bonifacio Lbs.
Carmine Famiglietti Lbs.
Bryan Poyser Lovers of Hate
Megan Gilbride Lovers of Hate
Chris Byrne Obselidia
Diane Bell Obselidia
Matthew Medlin Obselidia

Lynn Shelton

Honored for : Humpday

Nominations 2010 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Hilal Ahmed Langoo Zero Bridge
Josée Lajoie Zero Bridge
Tariq Tapa Zero Bridge
So Yong Kim Treeless Mountain
Lars Knudsen Treeless Mountain
Ben Howe Treeless Mountain
Bradley Rust Gray Treeless Mountain
Jay Van Hoy Treeless Mountain
Steve Beal The New Year Parade
Tom Quinn The New Year Parade
Lynn Shelton Humpday
Jean Kouremetis Big Fan
Elan Bogarin Big Fan
Robert D. Siegel Big Fan

Alex Holdridge, Seth Caplan, Scoot McNairy

Honored for : In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Nominations 2009 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Alex Holdridge In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Seth Caplan In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Scoot McNairy In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Sean S. Baker Prince of Broadway
Darren Dean Prince of Broadway
Dan Bush The Signal
Jacob Gentry The Signal
David Bruckner The Signal
Alexander A. Motlagh The Signal
Sean S. Baker Take Out
Shih-Ching Tsou Take Out
Chris Eigeman Turn the River
Ami Armstrong Turn the River

Chris Eska, Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Honored for : August Evening

Nominations 2008 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Chris Eska August Evening
Connie Hill August Evening
Jason Wehling August Evening
Doan Nhat Nam Owl and the Sparrow
Nguyen Van Quan Owl and the Sparrow
Stephane Gauger Owl and the Sparrow
Randy Russell The Pool
Kate Noble The Pool
Chris Smith The Pool
Aaron Katz Quiet City
Erin Fisher Quiet City
Ben Stambler Quiet City
Brendan Mcfadden Quiet City
Cris Lankenau Quiet City
Jeff Nichols Shotgun Stories
David Gordon Green Shotgun Stories
Lisa Muskat Shotgun Stories

Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, Anne Clements

Honored for : Quinceañera

Nominations 2007 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Richard Glatzer Quinceañera
Anne Clements Quinceañera
Wash Westmoreland Quinceañera
Mike Akel Chalk
Chris Mass Chalk
Graham Davidson Chalk
Angie Alvarez Chalk
Arin Crumley Four Eyed Monsters
Susan Buice Four Eyed Monsters
Kelly Reichardt Old Joy
Lars Knudsen Old Joy
Jay Van Hoy Old Joy
Anish Savjani Old Joy
Neil Kopp Old Joy
Jonathan Raymond Old Joy
Michael Cuesta 12 and Holding
Jenny Schweitzer 12 and Holding
Leslie Urdang 12 and Holding
Brian Bell 12 and Holding
Anthony Cipriano 12 and Holding

Mora Stephens, Joel Viertel

Honored for : Conventioneers

Nominations 2006 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Mora Stephens Conventioneers
Joel Viertel Conventioneers
Rian Johnson Brick
Mark G. Mathis Brick
Ram Bergman Brick
Cliff Charles Jellysmoke
Mad Matthewz Jellysmoke
Mark Banning Jellysmoke
Jay Duplass The Puffy Chair
Mark Duplass The Puffy Chair
Allen Bain Room
Darren Goldberg Room
Jesse Scolaro Room
Kyle Henry Room

Nominations 2005 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Jacob Aaron Estes Mean Creek
Rick Rosenthal Mean Creek
Susan Johnson Mean Creek
Hagai Shaham Mean Creek
Debra Granik Down to the Bone
Susan Leber Down to the Bone
Richard Lieske Down to the Bone
Anne Rosellini Down to the Bone
Lori Silverbush On the Outs
Michael Skolnik On the Outs
Mario F. de la Vega Robbing Peter
Lisa Y. Garibay Robbing Peter
T. Todd Flinchum Robbing Peter
Ferenc Tóth Unknown Soldier
Sean Bachrodt Unknown Soldier
Seth Eisman Unknown Soldier
Chachi Senior Unknown Soldier

Thomas McCarthy, Mary Jane Skalski, Robert May, Kathryn Tucker

Honored for : The Station Agent

Nominations 2004 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Thomas McCarthy The Station Agent
Kathryn Tucker The Station Agent
Mary Jane Skalski The Station Agent
Robert May The Station Agent
Lisa France Anne B. Real
Jeanine Rohn Anne B. Real
Josselyne Herman Saccio Anne B. Real
Antonio Macia Anne B. Real
Luis Moro Anne B. Real
Fabian Marquez Better Luck Tomorrow
Julie Asato Better Luck Tomorrow
Ernesto Foronda Better Luck Tomorrow
Justin Lin Better Luck Tomorrow
Peter Hedges Pieces of April
Alexis Alexanian Pieces of April
John S. Lyons Pieces of April
Gary Winick Pieces of April
Deborah Kampmeier Virgin
Sarah Schenck Virgin

Rebecca Miller, Alexis Alexanian, Lemore Syvan, Gary Winick

Honored for : Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

Nominations 2003 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Rebecca Miller Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
Gary Winick Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
Lemore Syvan Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
Alexis Alexanian Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
Eric Byler Charlotte Sometimes
Marc Ambrose Charlotte Sometimes
Bernard Rose Ivans Xtc
Lisa Enos Ivans Xtc
David Jacobson Dahmer
Larry Ratner Dahmer
Alex Smith The Slaughter Rule
Andrew J. Smith The Slaughter Rule
Greg O'Connor The Slaughter Rule
Michael A. Robinson The Slaughter Rule

Michael Polish, Mark Polish

Honored for : Jackpot

Nominations 2002 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Michael Polish Jackpot
Mark Polish Jackpot
Rosemary Rodriguez Acts of Worship
Nadia Leonelli Acts of Worship
Fredrik Sundwall Acts of Worship
Josh Apter Kaaterskill Falls
Peter Olsen Kaaterskill Falls
Hilary Howard Kaaterskill Falls
Anthony Leslie Kaaterskill Falls
Mitchell Riggs Kaaterskill Falls
Patrik-Ian Polk Punks
Michael McQuarn Punks
Tracey Edmonds Punks
Joe Maggio Virgil Bliss
John Maggio Virgil Bliss

Miguel Arteta, Matthew Greenfield, Mike White

Honored for : Chuck & Buck

Nominations 2001 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Mia Trachinger Bunny
Rebecca Sonnenshine Bunny
Matthew Greenfield Chuck & Buck
Miguel Arteta Chuck & Buck
Mike White Chuck & Buck
Danielle Renfrew Groove
Greg Harrison Groove
Jim McKay Our Song
Paul Mezey Our Song
Diana E. Williams Our Song
Catherine Lloyd Burns Everything Put Together
Marc Forster Everything Put Together
Adam Forgash Everything Put Together
Sean Furst Everything Put Together

Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Robin Cowie

Honored for : The Blair Witch Project

Nominations 2000 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Marc Arthur Chery Compensation
Zeinabu irene Davis Compensation
Rocco Caruso Judy Berlin
Eric Mendelsohn Judy Berlin
David Riker The City
Paul Mezey The City
Robin Cowie The Blair Witch Project
Daniel Myrick The Blair Witch Project
Eduardo Sánchez The Blair Witch Project
Gregg Hale The Blair Witch Project
Scott King Treasure Island
Adrienne Gruben Treasure Island

Nominations 1991 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Edward R. Pressman
Jon Jost

Nominations 1991 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Edward R. Pressman
Jon Jost