'Moonlight' leads Independent Spirit Award nominations; 'Other People,' 'Spa Night' also pick up nods

The nominees were announced today for the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards and the list includes honors for several LGBTQ creators and inclusive films. The Film Independent Spirit Awards honor the best of films made with a budget of under $20 million.

Moonlight, which has set box office records since its October 21 release, co-leads the pack with six nominations total. The film, inspired by the short play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, chronicles the life of a young black man named Chiron living in a rough neighborhood of Miami told in three acts; from childhood and teenage years. Over this time, Chiron struggles with his own sexual identity, the concept of masculinity, and his feelings towards his friend Kevin, all set against the backdrop of a challenging home life. Moonlight picked up nominations in Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and the cast will be honored with the Robert Altman Award given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.

Other People, written and directed by out SNL writer Chris Kelly, received four total nominations. The movie follows a struggling comedy writer, David, who moves back home to Sacramento from New York City to care for his sick mother. David’s situation is further complicated by his conservative family who have refused to accept him. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Other People is nominated in Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Supporting Female, and a Best Male Lead nomination for Jesse Plemons who played David.

Spa Night, which also premiered at Sundance this year, has picked up two nominations. The film itself is nominated for the John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for under $500,000), and out writer/director Andrew Ahn is nominated in the Someone to Watch Award category which includes a $25,000 grant for the filmmaker to continue their work. Spa Night follows a young Korean-American teen who struggles to reconcile his obligations to his struggling family with his own desires after getting a job at a Korean spa in Los Angeles and stumbling into the world of hook up culture.

The documentary I Am Not Your Negro, about gay novelist, playwright, and author James Baldwin, is nominated in Best Documentary Feature. Out writer Ira Sachs is also nominated in Best Screenplay for Little Men. Winners will be announced at the 32nd annual Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25.

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