A kudos surprise: IFP’s ode to ‘Joy’

Reichardt pic competing with 'Departed, 'Antoinette'

The IFP Gotham Awards may be trying to become the earliest bellwether of the Oscar season by announcing its award noms on Oct. 23, six weeks before the National Board of Review announces its picks. But the IFP’s indie roots are still showing.

The group’s five best pic nominees this year include four pics you’ve probably heard of — Martin Scorsese‘s “The Departed,” Sofia Coppolas “Marie Antoinette,” Todd Field‘s “Little Children,” Ryan Fleck‘s “Half Nelson” — and one you probably have not: “Old Joy” directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Will Oldham and Daniel London.

This is only the third year that the Gotham Awards have included a best film category. Last year the kudo went to “Capote,” which beat out some familiar titles like “Brokeback Mountain,” “A History of Violence,” and “Me You and Everyone We Know,” along with the indie “Keane,” which was helmed by Lodge H. Kerrigan.

“Old Joy” follows two buddies (played by London and minor indie rock celebrity Oldham) on a weekend camping trip outside Portland, Ore., and is being distributed by Kino International. Though its widest point of release since its Aug. 25 bow has been 11 screens, the pic’s $123,000 in grosses is probably close to its production budget.

“We were very happy,” says Kino prexy Donald Krim. He says it was nice to see the IFP still consider tiny indie pics for its awards, saying that Reichardt, who once packed boxes in Kino’s shipping department as an intern, “is a true American independent filmmaker. She got her budget together, shot her film and edited it herself.”

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