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‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Producers Tapped for Piaget Honor

'Let the Fire Burn,' 'Newlyweeds' also honored

Film Independent has awarded “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (pictured above) producers Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston its Piaget Producers Award.

The award, which comes with a $25,000 grant, was unveiled at the org’s Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch held Saturday at Boa  Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola hosted and presented the trophy.

“We just got in from Texas and now we’ve got all this money!” an exuberant Johnston said as part of his acceptance speech.

The Dallas-based duo will head out to Park City, Utah, next week for the premiere of their film “Listen Up, Phillip.”

Halbrooks said after the presentation that he regretted not thanking Parts and Labor for their help. “We have not had to suffer fools because of the help of people like them,” he added.

The Piaget award honors “emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.” Finalists were Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa and Frederick Thornton.

Jason Osder, director of “Let the Fire Burn,” received the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award.

Osder said after the presentation that he worked on the doc, which explores the Philadelphia police department’s deadly actions in 1985 against the radical group MOVE, for over a decade but only began making significant progress when he began working on the faculty at George Washington University in 2007.

“I had enough time on it and away from it to make it right,” he added. “There isn’t anything I would change now in the entire 95 minutes.”

The award is in its 19th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Stella Artois. “I happen to love Stella beer,” Osder in his acceptance.

Shaka King, director of “Newlyweeds,” received the Someone to Watch Award, now in its 20th year with $25,000 unrestricted grant. Other finalists were Aaron Douglas Johnston for “My Sister’s Quinceañera” and Madeleine Olnek for “The Foxy Merkins.”

The Spirit Awards will be presented on March 1 at this usual beachside location in Santa Monica.

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