Writer Lena Waithe and actor Brian Tyree Henry are set to give away a quarter of a million dollars in grants for filmmakers in January when they host the annual Independent Spirit Awards nominee brunch.
Waithe is this year’s Spirit Awards honorary chair, while Henry will supply the prizes in four categories. The biggest of the grants, The Bonnie Award, gifts a $50,000 unrestricted grant for a mid-career female filmmaker in honor of Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot. Another offers $25,000 to up and coming producers developing independent films.
“We are excited to be giving out four unrestricted grants, totaling $125,000, to some insanely deserving emerging talent,” the pair said in a statement.
“It’s an honor to pay tribute to and celebrate these incredibly talented filmmakers. Being a part of something as special as ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ reminds us all about the power of independent filmmaking,” said Henry.
Waithe added “Film Independent and I go way back. ‘Dear White People’ was nominated for a Spirit Award, I’ve given the Diversity Speaks Keynote address, they screened ‘The Chi’ — it’s a real filmmaking community committed to celebrating original voices and I am so proud to also serve as Honorary Chair.”
The brunch will take place Jan. 5, 2019 in Los Angeles.