On Saturday, February 8 a host of filmmakers and performers gathered on our local shores for the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Held annually the night before the Oscars®, cinematic talents gathered beachside in Santa Monica for a casual celebration of independent films. Those in attendance included Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Renée Zellweger and Parasite director Bong-Joon Ho, among many others.

The star-studded ceremony was also attended by Santa Monica resident Yulia Morris, the winner of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism’s Film Independent Spirit Awards contest. During the contest, Santa Monica residents were invited to submit photos of their favorite way to spend a winter day at the San-ta Monica Pier on Facebook and Instagram. Full submissions are on view at https://www.santamonica.com/contest/.

“It was a great to see Nicolas Cage, Scarlett Johansson, Robert De Niro… and many more,” said Morris. “I was able to take some autographs for my sister. Thanks Santa Monica and Film Independent for a memorable experience at the Spirit Awards.”

The Spirit Awards are produced by Film Independent, a non-profit that also produces the L.A. Film Festival and whose stated mission is to “champion creative independence in visual storytelling and sup-port a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision.” As a long-time partner to the community, Film Independent graciously donated the tickets for the contest and heavily featured Santa Monica footage and praise in the broadcast of the ceremony.

As has often been the case in recent years, a number of Spirit Award winners also went on to pick up Oscars® the following night. Renée Zellweger took home the best female lead prize for her performance in Judy. Also presaging the Academy’s pick, Parasite won for Best International Film.

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism Film Independent Spirit Awards ticket giveaway is an annual event. Be sure to check back in winter 2021 for full contest details and your chance to attend next year’s celebration.