Tracking the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards

Nominees for the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards were announced on November 22, 2022. Of all nominated writers and directors, 61% are women and 34% are BIPOC!

Writer and director Sarah Polley is nominated three times for her film Women Talking in the Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Screenplay categories. The film is based on Miriam Toews’s novel of the same name and centers around women in a remote religious colony who struggle with their faith after a series of sexual assaults occur.

The other female writers and directors who are nominated this year are:

  • Charlotte Wells: Best First Feature for Aftersun
  • Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović: Best First Feature for Murina
  • Jamie Dack: Best First Feature for Palm Trees and Powerlines
  • Halina Reijn: Best Director for Bodies Bodies Bodies
  • Lena Dunham: Best Screenplay for Catherine Called Birdy
  • Laura Poitras: Best Documentary for All the Beauty and Bloodshed
  • Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing: Best Documentary for Midwives
  • Sierra Pettengill: Best Documentary for Riotsville, USA
  • Jamie Dack & Audrey Findlay: Best First Screenplay for Palm Trees and Powerlines
  • D. Dávila: Best First Screenplay for Emergency
  • Sarah Delappe & Kristen Roupenian: Best First Screenplay for Bodies Bodies Bodies
  • Marie Kreutzer: Best International Film for Corsage
  • Martika Ramirez Escobar: Best International Film for Leonor Will Never Drive
  • Alice Diop: Best International Film for Saint Omer

Most of the films mentioned above are still in theaters, but some are also available on streaming services. Below are descriptions of the nominated films and how you can view them.

At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum. Twenty years later, Sophie’s real and imagined memories fill the gaps between as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.
*Available for streaming on On Demand.

17-year-old Julija spends her days diving for eel with her domineering father and dreaming of an escape from her life at their remote island home. The arrival of a rich and mysterious family friend may offer a way out if it doesn’t mean something more sinister.
*Available on various streaming services including Paramount+ and Showtime.

Palm Trees and Powerlines
A disconnected teenage girl enters a relationship with a man twice her age. She sees him as the solution to all her problems, but his intentions are not what they seem.

Bodies Bodies Bodies
During a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a group of rich 20-somethings play a party game that turns deadly. Backstabbing and paranoia ensue as they try to find the killer among them.
*Available on VOD on various streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, & Vudu.

Catherine Called Birdy
In medieval England, the teenage daughter of a financially destitute Lord thwarts her father’s plans to marry her off to a wealthy suitor. When the vilest suitor arrives, her parent’s love for her is tested.
*Available on Amazon Prime Video.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Rare footage and intimate interviews provide insight into the life and work of renowned photographer and activist Nan Goldin, as she fights to hold the pharmaceutical dynasty, the Sackler family accountable for the opioid crisis.

Two midwives, a Buddhist and a Muslim, defy strict ethnic divisions to work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic in Western Myanmar where the Rohingya tribe (a small Muslim community) is denied access to services and persecuted by the Buddhist majority.

Riotsville, USA.
In the 1960s, politicians and police waged war against citizens in the streets. Using all archival footage, the film explores the militarization of the police and connects the stagecraft of “law and order” to the real violence of state practice.
Available on VOD on various streaming services including Redbox and Vudu.

After an epic night of partying, three male college students (2 Black, 1 Latinx) come home to find a drunk, semi-conscious white woman in their apartment. Worried the police will suspect them of wrongdoing, the trio grapple with trying to get the woman to safety without drawing suspicion.
*Available on Amazon Prime Video.

A fictional account of one year in the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Upon turning 40, once idolized for her fashion and beauty, Elisabeth is officially deemed an old woman and makes a plan to maintain her public image.

Leonor Will Never Die
Fiction and reality blur after Leonor, a retired screenwriter, falls into a coma after a freak accident, compelling her to become the action hero of her unfinished screenplay.

Saint Omer
Young novelist Rama attends the trial of a young Senegalese woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide. Rama is there for research for an upcoming book, but as the trial continues, Rama begins to identify with the accused woman and becomes increasingly anxious about her own life and pregnancy.

The winners of the Spirit Awards will be announced on March 4, 2023. Stay tuned to this page for updates on where to stream these amazing films!

© Alicia Newkirk (12/20/22) – Special for FF2 Media ®


To see the full list of nominees, click here.


Featured photo of Sarah Polley’s Women Talking is courtesy of United Artists Releasing.

Tags: Aftersun, All the Beauty and Bloodshed, Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Awards, Catherine Called Birdy, Charlotte Wells, Independent Spirit Awards, Laura Poitras, Lena Dunham, Miriam Toews, Murina, Nan Goldin, Opioid Crisis, Sarah Polley, Women Talking

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Alicia Newkirk is an NYU graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Film and Television. Her interest in the arts began when she took her first dance and acting lessons at the age of 10 and has been a driving force in her life ever since. Her background has allowed her to develop a wide range of skills in entertainment, where she's served as a performer, on crew, and in production. In addition to working for FF2 Media, Alicia runs her own dog walking company where she can love up all the dogs!
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