Show is Granted Waiver by WGA
LOS ANGELES (December 20, 2007) – Film Independent announced today that Rainn Wilson will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the 2008 Spirit Awards, to take place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 23, 2008. Wilson, best known for his role as a paper salesman, nonetheless, on NBC's "The Office," will be hosting a more eco-friendly awards show, as Film Independent engages in a company-wide greening initiative.
Film Independent was granted a waiver by the Writer's Guild of America in order for the Spirit Awards to hire WGA writers. As a member of the WGA, Wilson in addition to his hosting duties will also serve as a writer for the show.
The 2008 ceremony will air live and uncut beginning at 5:00p.m. EST on IFC (Independent Film Channel), with an edited re-broadcast of the ceremony airing later that evening on AMC at 10:00 p.m.
Nominations for the 2008 Film Independent Spirit Awards were announced on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 with "I'm Not There" receiving the inaugural Robert Altman Award, to be presented to the film's director, casting director and its ensemble cast. Diana Zahn-Storey returns to executive produce the event for the fourteenth consecutive year.
"We have been so lucky in the past to have a string of original hosts for the Spirit Awards and that trend continues with Rainn," Diana Zahn-Storey, Sprit Awards executive producer commented. "The Spirit Awards are going through a type of renewal with our greening initiative and we know that Rainn will be able to inject new ideas into this year's ceremony as well."
"Film Independent and the Spirit Awards have a history of providing a fresh perspective – one that reflects the voices of the filmmakers we represent," said Dawn Hudson, executive director, Film Independent. "We are proud to give our talented, new host a platform to express his original voice and unique perspective."
"It is truly an honor to be asked to host an awards show that salutes the cutting edge in cinema. I like to think that I bring a bit of an 'independent spirit' to the proceedings as I recently installed a gun-rack in my Prius," said Rainn Wilson.
"IFC is proud to again broadcast the only uncut, uncensored awards show on television, and thrilled to have Rainn Wilson to host," added Evan Shapiro, IFC's Executive Vice President and General Manager. "Despite mainstream success, Rainn truly represents independent culture and has a brilliant comic mind – he is the perfect irreverent voice for the Spirits and our audiences."
Wilson can currently be seen on NBC in the fourth season of the Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award Winning series for Best Comedy, the American version of "The Office," alongside Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Jenna Fisher. Endearing himself to millions, he earned his first Emmy nomination this year in the supporting actor category for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute, an eccentric paper salesman whose ego knows no bounds, dreams of being "#2" and fervently torments his colleagues in his own lovable, pathetic fashion.
Upcoming for Wilson is "The Rocker," a music-themed comedy that follows a failed, down-and-out drummer (Wilson) who, twenty years after being kicked out of his now-famous group, gets a second chance – with his nephew's high school rock band. The film is being released through Shawn Levy and Tom McNulty's 21 Laps Entertainment banner for Fox Atomic in March, 2008. He is also currently in pre-production on "Bonzai Shadowhands," a dark comedy that he will both write and star in for Fox Searchlight, which Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking," "Juno") is set to direct and produce through his shingle Hard C. The story revolves around a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity somewhere in California's San Fernando Valley.
Wilson was most recently seen in the fantasy family feature "The Last Mimzy," alongside Joely Richardson and Tim Hutton. Other film credits include Ivan Reitman's comedy for 20th Century Fox, "Super Ex-Girlfriend," opposite Luke Wilson and Uma Thurman; "Sahara," with Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz; "Baadasssss;" Steven Soderbergh's "Full Frontal;" Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous;" "America's Sweetheart;" "House of 1,000 Corpse" and "Galaxy Quest." Prior to "The Office," Wilson was best known for his role as Arthur Martin, the pitiable mortician's apprentice on HBO's Emmy Award winning television series, "Six Feet Under." He has also guest-starred on "CSI," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Dark Angel" and "Monk," and he co-starred in the television movie "When Billy Beat Bobby."
About the Spirit Awards
The 2008 Film Independent's Spirit Awards ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, Axium International, ELLE, AMC, and Piaget, as well as Principal Sponsors Acura, Pop Secret, and Biolage Professional Haircare. Casa Del Mar, Sheraton Delfina, and Shutters on the Beach are the Official Host Hotels. Wire Image is the Official Photographer of Film Independent. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of Film Independent. ON3 Productions are the producers of the Official 2008 Film Independent Spirit Awards General Attendee Gift Bag and Presenter Gift Lounge.
Film Independent's Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.
Selected from more than 250 submissions, awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, 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 Foreign Film, and Best Documentary.
Spirit Awards winners are chosen by Film Independent members with voting privileges extended to IFP members. Voters attend nominee screenings and view nominated films online through a partnership with B-Side before selecting Spirit Awards winners. Additionally, voters who are Netflix subscribers can still access already released nominated films on DVD.
For more information, go to SpiritAwards.com.
About Film Independent
Film Independent is a non-profit membership organization of filmmakers, film leaders and film lovers 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 the audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, film industry leader, or a film lover.
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded film-lovers and artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent also offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent's mentorship and job placement program, Project:Involve, pairs emerging culturally-diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.
Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema, and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and dare to challenge the status quo.
For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org.