Catching the indie spirit

IFP in soul search about how it wants to be perceived in the future

A voting academy for independent film?

That’s one of the recommendations on the table as the Los Angeles chapter of the Independent Feature Project conducts a wholesale review of the nominating process for the Independent Spirit Awards.

IFP/LA executive director Dawn Hudson seeks feedback on the awards every year, but there’s a bit more urgency in this go-round.

The Spirits are owned by her organization, which is also in the midst of a full-fledged soul search about how it wants to be perceived in the future. The board also is seeking a new name that would remove the IFP association.

At the same time, there’s a growing cadre of independent producers who have become increasingly dissatisfied with the awards.

“There is this secrecy about the nominating policy that implies injustice even if it isn’t there — it calls the process into suspicion,” says producer Christine Vachon, who adds she and Ted Hope spent two hours crafting a response to Hudson’s call for feedback.

Prior tweaks allowed noms for festival films without distribution and created categories for pics budgeted under $500,000, first screenplays and first-time directors.

However, you can still predict the major awards by their box office. Prior sweeps include “Sideways,” “Lost in Translation,” “Far From Heaven” and “Pulp Fiction.”

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