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Lena Waithe, Brian Tyree Henry to Present $125k in Annual Film Independent Grants

Writer-creator Lena Waithe and actor Brian Tyree Henry will present a quarter of a million dollars in filmmaker grants come January as hosts of the annual Independent Spirit Awards nominee brunch.

Waithe, this year’s Spirit Awards honorary chair, and Henry will dole out the prizes in four categories, including a $50,000 unrestricted grant for a mid-career female filmmaker and $25,000 to emerging producers.

“We are excited to be giving out four unrestricted grants, totaling $125,000, to some insanely deserving emerging talent,” the pair said in a statement.

“It’s an honor to pay tribute to and celebrate these incredibly talented filmmakers. Being a part of something as special as ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ reminds us all about the power of independent filmmaking,” said Henry.

Waithe added that “Film Independent and I go way back. ‘Dear White People’ was nominated for a Spirit Award, I’ve given the Diversity Speaks Keynote address, they screened ‘The Chi’ — it’s a real filmmaking community committed to celebrating original voices and I am so proud to also serve as Honorary Chair.”

The brunch will be held Jan. 5, 2019 in Los Angeles.

More on the grants:

The Bonnie Award (The award recognizes a mid-career female director and is sponsored by American Airlines in honor of 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. The award is in its second year and includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant.)

The Truer Than Fiction Award (The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its twenty-fourth year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)

The Someone to Watch Award (The award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. This award is in its twenty-fifth year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)

The Producers Award (The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award is in its twenty-second year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)

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