Laura Colella’s “Breakfast With Curtis” has won Film Independent’s Find Your Audience Award.
“Curtis,” shot in 2010, topped Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore’s “Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives” and Jeremy Kipp Walker’s “History of Future Folk.”
The winner was announced Saturday at the org’s Spirit Awards nominee brunch at Boa restaurant in West Hollywood. Colella received a $50,000 cash grant designed to assist a filmmaker in building the audience.
“I basically made this film with my neighbors as my actors,” Colella said in her acceptance speech.
“I’m not supposed to say what the budget is but it’s a lot less than this award,” Colella told Variety.
She said the plans call for weeklong runs in Los Angeles and New York, showings in four college towns and screenings in Providence, R.I., where production took place.
Robert Koehler gave “Breakfast With Curtis” a strong review for Variety in July: “Colella’s tale of a lad’s seminal summer will win hearts and minds at Anglo and Euro fests, and just maybe a brave distrib in the bargain.”
Three other films received $25,000 grants, presented by Jeremy Renner and Salma Hayek.
The Piaget Producers Awards went to Mynette Louie for “Stones in the Sun,” the Truer Than Fiction Award for an emerging doc director went to Peter Nicks for “The Waiting Room” and the Someone to Watch award went to Adam Leon for “Gimme the Loot.”
The Find Your Audience Award, funded by Jameson Irish Whiskey, is in its third year. Previous winners were Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias for “Unfinished Spaces” and Jeff Malmberg for “Marwencol.”
The Spirit Awards are set for Feb. 23.