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Indie Spirits move to night — will they lose their spirit?

August 6, 2009 |  3:25 pm

Further proof that all good things must come to an end: Looks like the party's over for the Independent Spirit Awards. At least the breezy, bohemian fete that once defined the Indie Spirits as the coolest kudofest of them all.

Indie spirits 1

Next March — to mark the Indie Spirits' special 25th anniversary — the award show will move from afternoon to nighttime and from tents on the beach in Santa Monica to, presumably, some traditional auditorium setting just like all other awards. They'll also move from the day before the Oscars to two days earlier.

The specific venue hasn't been named, but the ceremony will be held on March 5 at 8 p.m. PST and air live on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Nominations will be unveiled  on Dec. 1.

"In planning this year's significant anniversary, we decided to venture away from our beloved day at the beach to a Friday evening where we hope an even broader audience discovers us as we kick-off the awards weekend," says Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. But it's unclear how that will be possible, considering the new schedule means that the telecast will air live starting at 11 p.m. EST, thus ending far after midnight across most of the U.S.

Indie spirits 2

These radical changes may have a devastating impact on the award's cool image. The previous presentation of the Spirits perfectly defined them as the anti-establishment film prize — because everything about them was anti. They were doled out by day instead of night and outside on a beach in a tent instead of indoors at a traditional, stuffy awards setting. Many honorees arrived via motorcycle, bicycle or on foot wearing leather jackets or torn T-shirts. Stars and studio execs stood in line to use porta-potties while swirling around everyone was an ocean-whipped wind carrying stray Frisbees and whiffs of dead seagulls and reefer.

Award chiefs insist that the kudos will retain their bohemian air, but it's hard to imagine how that will be possible. At least there's one bit of good news about the new plan. These anti-establishment film awards will no longer clash with the schedule of that other, even snarkier anti-establishment award — the Razzie, which will continue to be presented on the day before the Oscars.

Film Independent will be accepting submissions for Indie Spirit Awards beginning on Monday, Aug. 10, with the early deadline of Monday, Sept. 14 and the final deadline of Tuesday, Oct. 6.  Submission guidelines, applications, and more information can be found at 

Photos of Indie Spirits by Tom O'Neil for L.A. Times

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