The Gotham Independent Awards, the annual New York event that kicks off awards season, looked more like the Oscars this year — with a roster of attendees that included Forest Whitaker, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto and Shailene Woodley.
That annual event was very special for rising director/producer Gita Pullapilly (Sunny Side Up Films) who won the Euphoria Calvin Klein Live The Dream Grant ($25,000) for her indie feature BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY.
Patting ourselves on the metaphoric back, Art and I knew that Gita would take the prize! We shared our predictions with her when we conducted this interview three days before the award ceremony.
Here's what Gita Pullapilly had to say about NYC, indie filmmaking and what the Euphoria Calvin Klein Live The Dream Grant means to her future and other female indie filmmakers.
myNewYorkeye: We think you are the winner of the "Live The Dream Grant," so Art and I are sending our congratulations early.
What's it like to be you?
Gita Pullapilly: As an Indian American, I have always dreamed of making movies. BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY is my directorial debut.
To be nominated for The "Live The Dream Grant" is a tremendous honor. This will allow BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY to be seen by a larger audience but also allow us to take the film to communities that may not have had a chance to see the film otherwise. As independent filmmakers, sometimes you feel alone in the filmmaking process. But to have the support of IFP, has been an enormous boost.
myNewYorkeye: Art and I think you've won. We're not being polite. We're being creatively honest and objective. So what what's your thoughts on winning?
Gita Pullapilly: OK, (and) to win the "LIVE THE DREAM GRANT" would be an incredible honor and also hopefully show other aspiring female artists out there that it is possible to reach those next to impossible dreams.
The New York film community is vital to independent film. It's where filmmakers come to find the best talented actors and production services. The New York film community allows independent filmmakers to have a voice and a platform and we are forever grateful.
Euphoria Calvin Klein has enjoyed a four year partnership with IFP. This year they were the platinum sponsor at The 23nd Gotham Independent Film Awards which were held at Cipriani Wall Street.
The evening’s guests who were wardrobed by Calvin Klein Collection included Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Forest Whitaker, Michael B Jordan, Oscar Isaac, host for the evening Nick Kroll and IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente.
Mr. Whitaker also received a career tribute for his contribution to independent film.
Just as we were filing this story Gita alerted us that Tribeca Films has acquired U.S. rights to her coming-of-age drama “Beneath the Harvest Sky,” which stars Callan Mcauliffe (“The Great Gatsby”) and Emory Cohen.
“Beneath the Harvest Sky” centers on two teenage boys and their last summer working the potato harvest.
Yup, we were right ON THE VERGE!
Photo credit: IFP Gotham Awards; Gita Pullapilly, Aron Gaudet.