March 6, 2010

'Anvil,' '45365' Take Nonfiction Honors at Spirit Awards

In a journey that began at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival with lots of acclaim but no distribution offers, the story of Anvil! The Story of Anvil reached a rousing crescendo last night with an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, capping an Awards Season that garnered a bevy of kudos, including an IDA Award in December.

"I think we're both going on, having spent these incredible few years together on this amazing journey," director Sacha Gervasi exclaimed backstage. "I feel a sense of completion. I wanted to make a movie I was proud of, with people I liked-I did that.  This band, when we were making the movie was, playing to 20, 30 people a night, and now they're regularly playing to 10s of thousands of people."

From Sacha Gervasi's Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

"It's the independent spirit of the band that was the face of this film," producer Rebecca Yeldham added. "Every time we got hit with an obstacle, they didn't give up and it was an inspiration."

Anvil had been overlooked on the Oscars Short List for Best Documentary, but Gervasi was philosophical about that. "Of course we didn't get an Oscars nomination--it's Anvil! In the documentary branch for the Oscars, the median age is the 60s and 70s; four minutes into this movie, Lipps takes out a marital aid and plays his guitar; I think maybe we lost it there. We're so thrilled with what happened here. It would've been lovely, it didn't happen. But this is the Independent Spirit Awards. This is the essence of what the band has lived and what the film has loved. This is an incredible honor."

Bill Ross and Turner Ross, makers of 45365, earned the Chaz & Roger Ebert Truer Than Fiction Award for an emerging documentary filmmaker. Film Independent, the LA-based nonprofit that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, had announced earlier in the week that the Eberts would sponsor the award, which includes an unrestricted $25,000 grant to "an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition."  The Spirit crowd paid loving tribute to the Eberts with a montage of clips from his Siskel & Ebert and Ebert
& Roeper

From Bill Ross and Turner Ross' 45365

45365, an essay documentary on nine months in the life of Sidney, Ohio (the zip code for which is the title of the film), won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, was honorable mentioin for the HBO Emerging Documentary Award at Full Frame and earned several Cinema Eye Honors nominations. The film has been screening at festivals and arthouse venues around the country and will have weeklong runs in Los Angeles this month and in New York City in June.

45365 and Anvil! The Story of Anvil will be screening Saturday, March 6, at 4:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., respectively, at the Writers Guild of America Theater in Beverly Hills, as part of DocuDays LA.


For more information on DocuDays LA, click here.