The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier member organization of independent storytellers, announced today the nominees for the 25th Annual IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards.  The Gotham Awards is one of the leading awards for independent film and signals the kick-off to the film awards season. For 2015, the eight competitive film awards include Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress (presenting sponsor euphoria Calvin Klein), Breakthrough Actor, Best Screenplay, the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director award, and the Gotham Audience Award. In addition to the competitive awards, Gotham Award Tributes will be given to actors Helen Mirren and Robert Redford, director Todd Haynes, and Industry Tribute recipient producer Steve Golin.

As the first major awards ceremony of the film season, the IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards provide critical early recognition and media attention to worthy independent films. The awards are also unique for their ability to assist in catapulting award recipients prominently into national awards season attention. This year the Gotham Awards will also be presenting two new awards for serialized television and web content. Those nominations will be announced next week.

Twenty-five films received nominations this year. In addition, the nominating committee for the Best Actor and Best Actress categories category voted to award a Special Jury Award jointly to cast members Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James for their ensemble work in Spotlight. Beyond these individual actors, the committee cited the Spotlight cast as “an outstanding ensemble in which every performance, in every role, of every size, is beautifully realized.” In recognition of the strong work by female actors this year, the jury also chose to include six nominees for Best Actress.

“We congratulate this year’s nominated independent storytellers, who represent a richly diverse range of cinematic achievements that are bold, risk-taking, and beautifully crafted, ” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center.

Nominees are selected by committees of film critics, journalists, festival programmers, and film curators. Separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved in making films will determine the final Gotham Award recipients.

The Gotham Audience Award nominees are comprised of the 14 films nominated for Best Feature, Best Documentary, and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award. The winner will be selected by online voting of IFP members. Voting for that award begins November 18th at 12:01 AM EST.

The Gotham Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, November 30th at Cipriani Wall Street.

The 2015 IFP Gotham Independent Film Award nominations are:

Best Feature

Carol  Todd Haynes, director; Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley, producers (The Weinstein Company)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl  Marielle Heller, director; Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Miranda Bailey, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Heaven Knows What  Josh and Benny Safdie, directors; Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard, producers (RADiUS)

Spotlight  Tom McCarthy, director; Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagan Faust, producers (Open Road Films)

Tangerine  Sean Baker, director; Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou, Marcus Cox & Karrie Cox, producers (Magnolia Pictures)

Best Documentary

Approaching the Elephant  Amanda Rose Wilder, director; Jay Craven, Robert Greene, Amanda Rose Wilder, producers (Kingdom County Productions)

Cartel Land  Matthew Heineman, director; Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin, producers (The Orchard and A&E IndieFilms)

Heart of a Dog  Laurie Anderson, director; Dan Janvey, Laurie Anderson, producers (Abramorama and HBO Documentary Films)

Listen to Me Marlon  Stevan Riley, director; John Battsek, RJ Cutler, George Chignell, producers (Showtime Documentary Films)

The Look of Silence  Joshua Oppenheimer, director; Signe Byrge Sørensen, producer (Drafthouse Films)

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award

Desiree Akhavan for Appropriate Behavior (Gravitas Ventures)

Jonas Carpigano for Mediterranea (Sundance Selects)

Marielle Heller for The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)

John Magary for The Mend (Cinelicious Pics)

Josh Mond for James White (The Film Arcade)

Best Screenplay

Carol, Phyllis Nagy (The Weinstein Company)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller (Sony Pictures Classics)

Love & Mercy, Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment)

Spotlight, Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Open Road Films)

While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach (A24)

Best Actor*

Christopher Abbott in James White (The Film Arcade)

Kevin Corrigan in Results (Magnolia Pictures)

Paul Dano in Love & Mercy (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment)

Peter Sarsgaard in Experimenter (Magnolia Pictures)

Michael Shannon in 99 Homes (Broad Green Pictures)

Best Actress*

Cate Blanchett in Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Blythe Danner in I’ll See You in My Dreams (Bleecker Street)

Brie Larson in Room (A24 Films)

Bel Powley in The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)

Lily Tomlin in Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics)

Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me (Alchemy)

Breakthrough Actor

Rory Culkin in Gabriel (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What (RADiUS)

Lola Kirke in Mistress America (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)

Mya Taylor in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)

* The 2015 Best Actor/Best Actress nominating panel also voted to award a special Gotham Jury Award jointly to Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James for their ensemble work in Spotlight. (Open Road Films).

Twenty writers, critics and programmers participated in the nomination process. The Nominating Committees for the 2015 IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards were:

Nominating Committee for Best Feature and Breakthrough Director:

Ty Burr, Film Critic, The Boston Globe

Eric Kohn, Deputy Editor & Chief Film Critic, Indiewire

Christy Lemire, Film Critic, and co-host, What the Flick?!

Andrew O’Hehir, Film Critic,

Joshua Rothkopf, Film Editor, Time Out New York

Nominating Committee for Best Documentary:

Joanne Feinberg, Curator and Consultant, FeinFilm

Cynthia Fuchs, Film-TV Editor, PopMatters

Mike Maggiore, Programmer, Film Forum

Rachel Rosen, Director of Programming, San Francisco Film Society

David Wilson, Co-Conspirator, True/False Film Fest

Nominating Committee for Best Actor and Best Actress:

Bilge Ebiri, Film Critic, New York Magazine and Vulture

Mark Harris, Editor-at-Large, Entertainment Weekly

Ann Hornaday, Film Critic, The Washington Post

Amy Nicholson, Chief Film Critic, L.A. Weekly

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Freelance Journalist and Critic

Nominating Committee for Breakthrough Actor:

Florence Almozini, Associate Programmer, Film Society of Lincoln Center

Cara Cusumano, Senior Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival

David Ehrlich, Staff Writer, Rolling Stone

Rodrigo Perez, Founder and Editor, The Playlist

Ray Pride, Film Critic, Newcity; Editor,; Contributing Editor, FILMMAKER.

Spotlight on Women Directors ‘Live the Dream’ Grant

For the sixth consecutive year, IFP is proud present the euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Directors ‘Live the Dream’ grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumna of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs or IFP’s Screen Forward Lab. In 2015, Screen Forward Lab directors have been included in this opportunity for the first time. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging women directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film or episodic series. The nominees are:

Claire Carré, director, Embers

Deb Shoval, director, AWOL

Chanelle Aponte Pearson, director, 195 Lewis

Gotham Independent Film Audience Award

IFP members will determine the 7th Annual Gotham Independent Film Audience Award with nominees comprised of the 14 nominated films in the Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award categories. All IFP current, active members at the Individual Level and above will be eligible to vote.  Voting will take place online from November 18th at 12:01 AM EST and conclude on November 25th at 5:00 PM EST. In addition, IFP will be scheduling screenings of the nominated films for IFP members in the theater at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Brooklyn. These screenings will take place from November 4-11. The winner of the Audience Award will be announced at the Gotham Awards Ceremony on November 30, 2015.

Gotham Appreciation Award

A Gothams Appreciation Award will be given to Ellen Cotter for her contribution to theatrical distribution, including leadership of the Angelika Film Centers.


The Premier Sponsors of the 25th Anniversary IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards are Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and The New York Times, and the Platinum Sponsors are euphoria Calvin Klein and Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward Office of Film, Music and Entertainment. The Official Water Sponsor is FIJI Water and the Official Wine Partner is Line 39 by O’Neill. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times in November 2015.

2015 IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards – Alphabetical List of Nominated Films

99 Homes

Best Actor

Approaching the Elephant

Best Documentary

Appropriate Behavior

Breakthrough Director

Cartel Land

Best Documentary


Best Feature

Best Screenplay

Best Actress

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best Feature

Best Screenplay

Best Actress

Breakthrough Director


Best Actor


Breakthrough Actor


Best Actress

Heart of a Dog

Best Documentary

Heaven Knows What

Best Feature

Breakthrough Actor

I’ll See You in My Dreams

Best Actress

James White

Breakthrough Director

Best Actor

Listen to Me Marlon

Best Documentary

The Look of Silence

Best Documentary

Love & Mercy

Best Actor

Best Screenplay


Breakthrough Director

The Mend

Breakthrough Director

Mistress America

Breakthrough Actor



Best Actor


Best Actress


Best Feature

Best Screenplay

Special Jury Award – Ensemble Performance


Best Feature

Breakthrough Actor

Breakthrough Actor

Welcome to Me

Best Actress

While We’re Young

Best Screenplay

About IFP
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 36-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at

About the Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP
The IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

For information on attending: