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Indie Spirit Awards

December 2, 2011 by staff 

Indie Spirit Awards, For movie award season prognosticators, Tuesday was a very busy day.

For former Baraboo resident Evan Glodell, it was a very good day.

Almost simultaneously Tuesday morning, the influential New York Film Critics Circle released its annual awards and the Independent Spirit Awards announced its nominations.

The Critics Circle gave Best Picture honors to the silent-film homage “The Artist” and honored Meryl Streep for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” Brad Pitt won Best Actor for both “Moneyball” and “Tree of Life” – an unusual decision to reward an actor for his work on different movies.

But for Wisconsinites, the Independent Spirit Awards – always held the day before the Oscars to celebrate indie film culture – might be more interesting because of some area connections.

Writer-director Evan Glodell, formerly of Baraboo, saw his debut film “Bellflower” nominated for two Spirit Awards. It was nominated for Best Cinematography – not surprisingly, given the film’s distinctive, grungy look filmed on cameras that Glodell made himself. It’s also up for the John Cassavetes Award which honors films made for less than $500,000.

Reportedly, Glodell made “Bellflower” for only $17,000.

Raw and often over the top in its themes and violence, “Bellflower” definitely is a polarizing film.But the nominations seem to provide further proof that Glodell is a distinctive filmmaker who is going places.

The second Wisconsin connection with the Independent Spirit Awards is for a film as amiable as “Bellflower” is galvanizing. “Cedar Rapids,” about a sheltered Wisconsin insurance salesman who gets his perspectives broadened by Iowa’s second-largest city, was nominated for Best Screenplay.

The screenplay was written by Phil Johnston, a Neenah native and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate who worked for a while as a weatherman in Iowa.

“Cedar Rapids” was a total charmer of a film that affectionately tweaked small-town Midwestern folks, with the feeling that it was written by somebody on the inside.

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