They're a People of Independent Means


The Scene: The party Swatch hosted after Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards luncheon. The ceremony was held in a tent pitched near the beach at Pico Boulevard, the after-party at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar.

What They Are: The ISAs are a form of alternative Oscars given to independent (they labor without big studio money) filmmakers. "These people are to the $0 to $8-million film what (Robert) Zemeckis and (Steven) Spielberg are to the $50-million to $80-million film," said Hollywood author Aljean Harmetz.

In the Spirit: Roger Avary, who co-wrote "Pulp Fiction" with Quentin Tarantino and won Best Screenplay over--among other films--"Bullets Over Broadway," remarked: "For two video store geeks to whup Woody Allen's butt is kind of cool."

Who Was There: The ceremony had gobs of stars including, Bridget Fonda, Eric Stoltz, Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Jodie Foster, Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. The 1,200-strong party, however, was celebrity-lite. One observer aptly described the mix of agents, producers, studio execs and young filmmakers as, "predators looking to feed on talent, and talent looking to feed on financing."

The Locale: The hangar's walls were draped in black, chandeliers were hung, and lounge areas filled with sofas and antique chairs. The party designer from Special Occasions by Marianne described it as an "MTV Unplugged basement feeling." Entertainment came from Brian Setzer's 23-piece rockabilly/swing band, whose members wore pink tuxedos.

The Real World: One studio exec described the indie filmmakers as "boundary pushers." He then added, "and in my day job, I'm definitely the boundary."

Overheard: "I can see the attraction of turning into a Hollywood monster, but I think I'm getting a little too old for that."

Weirdness: Pistol-packing guards with billy clubs who wore white gloves and gold braided uniforms patrolled the hangar. It was a nice touch of surrealism. Like something you'd expect at a party hosted by Imelda Marcos.

Obligatory O.J. Trial Reference: Emcee/comedian Kevin Pollak called "Kato" Kaelin, "the houseboy from Mensa."

Triumphs: Shouldn't every party have a 23-piece rockabilly/swing band in pink tuxedos?

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