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Cary Fukunaga’s ‘Beasts of No Nation’ garners Five Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations

By Lia Chang
AsAmNews Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Beasts of No Nation, A Netflix Original Film directed, written, filmed and produced by Cary Fukunaga, has garnered five 2016 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations.

The nominations included best director and best cinematography for Fukunaga, best feature, and acting nods for Abraham Attah (best male lead) and Idris Elba (best supporting male).

Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)
Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

Beasts of No Nation is based on the highly acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, bringing to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. Newcomer Abraham Attah gives a stunning portrayal of Agu, while Idris Elba dominates the screen in the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.

Idris Elba and director Cary Fukunaga on the set of Beasts of No Nation. (Netflix)
Idris Elba and director Cary Fukunaga on the set of Beasts of No Nation. (Netflix)

Cary Joji Fukunaga is an Emmy Award-winning director, writer, and cinematographer who created and directed the HBO show True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. At the 2014 Emmy Awards he was awarded Outstanding Director for a Drama Series for his work on the show.

Fukunaga’s first film, Sin Nombre, was critically acclaimed and catapulted him into the limelight as a director to watch.  The film, which he wrote and directed, was a thriller about the collision of a gang member on the run from his violent past and a Honduran teenager traveling with her family through Mexico in hopes of finding a better life in the U.S. It premiered in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award and the U.S. Dramatic Excellence in Cinematography Award.

Jane Eyre followed Sin Nombre. Starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, the film was critically acclaimed and was nominated at both the BAFTA and Academy Awards.

Fukunaga launched his career as a second-year NYU Film School student with the short, Victoria Para Chino, which screened at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and went on to earn more than two dozen international awards, including the Silver Medal at the Student Academy Awards and an honorable mention from BAFTA’s Los Angeles chapter.

Fukunaga is also the recipient of  a 2008 USA Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, the John H. Johnson Film Award,  a 2005 Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship and a 2007 Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Bursary.

His first commercial was a moving :60 piece for the Levi’s Go Forth campaign. Working closely with W+K, Portland, Cary tapped into the reputation of the Levi’s brand, the optimism of a generation recharged by recent political change, and the authority of an American icon to create the award-winning spot.

This was followed by the launch film for the Sony PS Vita The World is in Play campaign.  Another beautifully crafted piece, it embraced the metaphor of gamers interacting with the world around them and each other.

The California native is an M.F.A. candidate from New York University’s Graduate Film Program, and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Film Independent Members (and members of IFP) vote to determine the winners of the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Become a Film Independent Member by visiting filmindependent.org/membership. All Members must be paid and current as of December 4, 2015 to be eligible to vote. Click here to cast your vote.

The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27, 2016, LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.

Click here for the full list of nominations.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comBroadwayworld.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.


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