IFP tags ‘Out of Control’s’ Morris with Gotham nod

NEW YORK — The Independent Feature Project will present “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” helmer Errol Morris with its 1997 IFP Gotham Filmmaker Award. Macky Alston will receive the Open Palm Award for his debut, “Family Name,” and Faith Hubley will receive the first-ever IFP special award for animation.

All the awards will be presented at the IFP’s gala ceremony Sept. 16 at the Manhattan Center in N.Y. One thousand industryites are expected to attend the event, which will take place on the second night of the Independent Feature Film Market.

As previously announced, the lifetime achievement award will go to Miramax Films co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

“Errol Morris is in a league of his own as an innovator in the American documentary film movement,” said IFP executive director Michelle Byrd in announcing the award. “The body of work he has created over the past 19 years is unparalleled and he remains a leader and mentor to many young filmmakers.”

Morris’ 1988 film “The Thin Blue Line” resulted in the release from prison of Randall Dale Adams, who had been wrongly convicted of the murder of a Dallas police officer. His other credits include “Gates of Heaven” and “A Brief History of Time,” about physicist Stephen Hawking.

The selection of Alston marks only the second time in its seven-year history that the Open Palm Award has been granted to a docu. “Family Name,” the real-life story of the descendants of slaves and slave owners, won the freedom of expression award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Sponsored by Entertainment Weekly, the Open Palm Award is presented to a first-time filmmaker from New York who struggled to complete his first feature. The award includes a package of goods and services valued at more than $25,000 to help the winner make his next film.

A native New Yorker, Hubley has designed, directed and produced 19 animated films celebrating the art and mythology of many cultures. Besides her solo works, Hubley made 22 films with her late husband, John Hubley.

Also on Thursday, the IFP announced that Suzanne Griffin has won first prize in the third annual Beigel Screenplay Award competition for her script “Clean.” The award carries a $5,000 prize.

Set in a long-ago Italy of the imagination, “Clean” tells the story of two fugitive lovers who discover the miraculous power of intimacy. A grad of New York University’s graduate institute of film and television, Griffin previously directed the award-winning short “Secret Voices.”

The jury for the competition was composed of award sponsor Herbert Beigel (“Camp Stories”), Jay Cocks (“The Age of Innocence”), Mary Harron (“I Shot Andy Warhol”), Lisa Krueger (“Manny and Lo”) and Barbara Turner (“Georgia”).

A special honorable mention went to Benjamin H. Pettis III for his screenplay “The Compleat Dart Shooter.”

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