Filmmakers get awards totalling $115,000 at Spirit Awards

Film Independent has awarded filmmakers of four features grants totalling $115,000 at its annual Spirit Awards brunch.

Awards were presented Saturday at Boa in West Hollywood.

The Jameson “Find Your Audience” award went to Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias for “Unfinished Spaces” with $40,000 grant. The doc follows a trio of Cuban architects who created buildings in the first year following the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

Murray said the grant for “Spaces,” which has been in the works for a decade, will enable him and Nahmias to start setting screenings within the next several months at museums along with performing outreach.

“I never expected to win,” he added.

The other three awards each carry unrestricted $25,000 grants.

The “Truer than Fiction” award went to Heather Courtney for “Where Soldiers Come From.”

The Piaget Producers trophy went to Sophia Lin for “Take Shelter” and the “Someone to Watch” award was given to Mark Jackson for “Without.”

Presentation opened with Film Indepedendent co-prexy Sean McManus declaring, “You have inspired all of us with your passion and creativity.”

The remaining Spirit Awards winners will be announced at ceremonies held Feb. 26 in a beachside tent in Santa Monica.

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