Last night Steiner Studios was the scene of the IFP Gotham Awards. The annual ceremony is a love letter to the NYC indie film scene and kicks off the awards season. The timing for the event is welcome in the city. Especially since the entertainment industry is handling strikes on both the East & West coasts. This year's Gotham tribute honoree Mira Nair was given a special award. Another star on the rise we were happy to discover at Sundance is Ellen Page. X-Men III fans may remember her as the spunky Kitty Pryde. Ellen won a Breakthrough Actress award last night and is definitely about to become a household name. Look for her star turn as a pregnant teen in "Juno" directed by "Thank You For Smoking" helmer Jason Reitman.
Ellen is also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. We're happy to see that Sundance alums Rocket Science, Crazy Love and Four Sheets to the Wind also received nominations. The Bob Dylan bio pick "I'm Not There" led the Independent Spirit Awards with the most nominations.
Today, Sundance released their list of films to screen in the January 2008 dramatic competition. There are some alums including Nanette Burnstein who co-directed "The Kid Stays in the Picture" with Brett Morgan. Brett Morgan's animated docudrama "Chicago 10" was last year's festival opening night film. This year Nanette Burnstein returns to Sundance with the cinema verite "American Teen."
"Half Nelson" team Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden reteam for "Sugar" which chronicles the journey of Dominican baseball star Miguel "Sugar" Santos. Cinematographer Ellen Kuras A.S.C. who has worked as director of photography for directors like Spike Lee and Michel Gondry makes her directorial debut with
Nerakhoon (the Betrayal).