Film Independent President Josh Welsh announced that the call for entries for the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards is now open. The Regular Deadline is Tuesday, September 22, 2015 and the Final Deadline is Tuesday, October 13, 2015. Please visit for submission guidelines and forms. The nominations will be announced on November 24, 2015 in a press conference. Piaget, Heineken and IFC are returning as Premier Sponsors. The Awards will be held on February 27, 2016 and will premiere exclusively on IFC.  

“There are so many strong films this year, coming out theatrically as well as at the major festivals,” said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent. “We’re so excited to begin the process of considering all the great work that we’ll be recognizing at next year’s Spirit Awards.”

The Film Independent Spirit Awards include the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best Screenplay, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best International Film, and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants, for emerging filmmakers, include the Producers Award, the Truer Than Fiction Award and the Someone to Watch Award.

As the first event to exclusively honor independent film, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel and Ethan Coen, Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, Lynn Shelton, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Steve McQueen, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Members are filmmakers, film industry leaders and film lovers. Anyone passionate about film can join at to be eligible to vote for the winners of the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards                       

In addition to celebrating the broad spectrum of independent filmmaking, the Spirit Awards is also the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. To learn more about table sales and attendance, please contact Kate Walker D’Angelo, Director of Institutional Giving, via email or 310.432.1282. 

Now in its 31st year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, Heineken and IFC. WireImage is the Official Photographer.  

Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions independent  film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a Member, visit