Past Lives triumphs at Independent Spirits

Celine Song's drama takes top two prizes

by Amber Wilkinson

Past Lives
Past Lives Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Celine Song's Past Lives was the big winner at this year's Independent Spirit Awards. Her moving indie drama, which checks in with a South Korean emigre (Greta Lee) to North America at 12-yearly intervals and charts her reconnection with her first love (Teo Yoo), took home the prizes for Best Film and Best Director.

Jeffrey Wright won Best Lead Performance for his satire for his performance as a jaded English professor in Cord Jefferson's satire American Fiction, which also saw Jefferson pick up the Best Screenplay award, while Da’Vine Joy Randolph won the Best Supporting Performance gong for her role as a grieving school cook in Alexander Payne's comedy drama The Holdovers. Payne's film picked up a trio of awards, in total, also snagging Best Cinematography and Best Breakthrough Performance.

Justine Triet’s Anatomy Of A Fall continued its strong awards run, picking up the Best International Film title. Best First Feature went to AV Rockwell's A Thousand And One.

Full list of film awards

Best Feature (given to the producer)

  • Past Lives - Producers: David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon

Best Director

Best Screenplay

Best Documentary

Best First Feature

Best Lead Performance

Best Supporting Performance

Best International Film (given to the director)

Best Cinematography

Best Editing

  • Daniel Garber, How To Blow Up A Pipeline

Best First Screenplay

  • Samy Burch, Story by Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik, May December

Best Breakthrough Performance

John Cassavetes Award (given to the producers for the best feature made for under $1,000,000)

  • Fremont - director/Writer: Babak Jalali; producers: Rachael Fung, Chris Martin, Marjaneh Moghimi, George Rush, Sudnya Shroff, Laura Wagner

Robert Altman Award (given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cas

  • Showing Up - director: Kelly Reichardt; casting director: Gayle Keller; ensemble cast: André Benjamin, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, Heather Lawless, James Le Gros, John Magaro, Matt Malloy, Amanda Plummer, Maryann Plunkett, Denzel Rodriguez, Michelle Williams

Producers Award  (honours emerging talent)

  • Monique Walton

Someone To Watch Award

  • Monica Sorelle Director of Mountains

Truer Than Fiction Award  (given to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition)

  • Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, director of Unseen

Watch highlights from the ceremony below:

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