×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Rider’ Director Chloe Zhao Receives Inaugural Bonnie Award

Chloe Zhao, who produced, directed and wrote the Western drama “The Rider,” has won Film Independent’s inaugural Bonnie Award, given to recognize a mid-career female director.

The trophy, which includes a $50,000 grant, was presented to Zhao at the organization’s Spirit Awards brunch at Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Her film, which debuted at the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, is up for four Spirits for best feature, director, editing and cinematography.

The 33rd annual Spirit Awards will be held on March 3 in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Only films with budgets of $20 million or less are eligible.

Zhao, who is Chinese-American, told Variety that she used a tiny crew of about half a dozen friends and family to shoot “The Rider,” which charts the frustrated dreams of a South Dakota rodeo rider, played by real-life cowboy Brady Jandreau. “The Rider” also marked a return to Directors’ Fortnight for Zhao who presented her feature debut “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” in 2015.

“We had so little resources that I didn’t have to think too much about this project,” she said. “The last one took a long time so I just wanted to do this one quickly. When you have limitations like we did, you’re forced to learn how to do things.”

John Cho and Alia Shawkat co-hosted the event and handed out the honors. The Bonnie Award is named after Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo who joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. Caputo attended  Saturday’s event.

The other finalists for the Bonnie award were So Yong Kim and Lynn Shelton.

Jonathan Olshefski, director of “Quest, “received the Truer Than Fiction Award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Shevaun Mizrahi, director of “Distant Constellation,” and Jeff Unay, director of “The Cage Fighter.”

Justin Chon, director of “Gook,” received the Someone to Watch Award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Amman Abbasi, director of “Dayveon,” and Kevin Phillips, director of “Super Dark Times.”

Summer Shelton received the Piaget Producers Award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were the team of Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin Kim and Ben Leclair.

Matty Brown received the Seattle Story Award, which includes a $25,000 cash grant, to create a short film inspired by Seattle’s independent spirit.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Backstage in Puglia del film SPACCAPIETRE:

    'Gomorrah' Star Salvatore Esposito Set For De Serio Twins' 'The Stonebreaker'

    Salvatore Esposito, the Italian star who plays young mob boss Genny Savastano in Italy’s hit TV series “Gomorrah,” will soon be hitting the big screen toplining upcoming drama “The Stonebreaker” by twin directorial duo Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, who are known internationally for “Seven Acts of Mercy.” The De Serio twins are now in post on “Stonebreaker” [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content