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February 28, 2016 Comments Off on Spirit Awards Honor Trans Actor…And, Local Film Producer Mel Eslyn Views: 3826 *The Strangeways Report, Arts & Entertainment, Film, Hollywoodland, Trans* Pride

Spirit Awards Honor Trans Actor…And, Local Film Producer Mel Eslyn

Mya Taylor makes history as the first trans actor to win a major film award for her work in the film, "Tangerine" as she takes teh Supporting Actress award at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards.

Mya Taylor makes history as the first trans actor to win a major film award for her work in the film, “Tangerine” as she takes the Supporting Actress award at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards.

Two things to note from yesterday’s Indie Spirit Awards held in Santa Monica, California…or, two things of possible interest if you’re LGBTQ and/or a fan of Seattle film making.

Transgender actor MYA TAYLOR became the first trans actor to win a Spirit Award for her work as a supporting actor in the drama “Tangerine”. The popular film had several screenings in Seattle last year and received considerable press attention for the fact the film was shot on an iPhone by director Sean Baker and used an app for the iPhone created by a local Seattle company.

Via Variety:

“I came from almost nothing,” a beaming Taylor said from the stage following a standing ovation. “My life did a total 360.”

Taylor was the only Spirit Award winner from the film. Her co-star and fellow trans actor Kitana Kiki Rodriguez was nominated as Female Lead but lost to Brie Larson for her work in the film, “Room”. Trans actor Harmony Santana was the first trans nominated actor for a Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 for her role in “Gun Hill Road”.


Seattle based film producer Mel Eslyn won the Piaget Producer's Award at this year's Spirit Awards.

Seattle based film producer Mel Eslyn won the Piaget Producer’s Award at this year’s Spirit Awards.

2) Seattle based film maker/producer MEL ESLYN won the Piaget Producer’s Award. She’s best known for producing several locally made films including Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister and Touchy Feely.

Via the Spirit Awards website:

The Producers Award, now in its 19th year, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Mel Eslyn is an independent film producer who splits her time between Seattle and Los Angeles. She produced the 2014 Sundance Film Festival hit The One I Love, directed by Charlie McDowell and starring Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass and Ted Danson (Radius/TWC theatrical release August 2014). At the 2015 SXSW Film Festival Mel premiered two features, Ross Partridge’s Lamb (The Orchard) and Todd Rohal’s Uncle Kent 2 (Factory 25), both in theaters early 2016. Her other features include Improvement ClubYour Sister’s Sister,Treatment, and Touchy Feely. Mel is currently in post on her latest features The Intervention (d. Clea DuVall)Dreamland (d. Robert Schwartzman) and Lane 1974 (d. SJ Chiro), the Seattle-based web series Rocketmen (d. Web Crowell), and is currently in development on a slate of films for Duplass Brothers Productions.

Congrats to Mel and bravo for Seattle filmmaking…even, the mumblecore-y kind!

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Feature

Beasts of No Nation
Spotlight — WINNER

Best Director

Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight — WINNER
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best Screenplay

Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight — WINNER
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best First Feature

The Diary of a Teenage Girl — WINNER
James White
Manos Sucias
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best First Screenplay

Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room — WINNER
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best Male Lead

Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation — WINNER
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Female Lead

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room — WINNER
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Best Supporting Male

Kevin Corrigan, Results
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation — WINNER
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Female

Robin Bartlett, H.
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Mya Taylor, Tangerine — WINNER

Best Documentary

Best of Enemies
Heart of a Dog
The Look of Silence — WINNER
The Russian Woodpecker

Best International Film

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Embrace of the Serpent
Son of Saul  — WINNER

 Best Cinematography

Beasts of No Nation
Carol — WINNER
It Follows
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best Editing

Heaven Knows What
It Follows
Manos Sucias
Spotlight — WINNER

John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Under $500,000)

Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Krisha — WINNER
Out of My Hand

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)


Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award

Chloe Zhao
Felix Thompson — WINNER
Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

Piaget Producers Award 

Darren Dean
Mel Eslyn — WINNER
Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith

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