Shaka King Named Film Independent Spirit Awards’ Honorary Chair

Judas and the Black Messiah director Shaka King on Tuesday was named honorary chair of the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which are set to air April 22 on IFC and AMC+.

The news comes a day after King and Judas picked up a pair of Oscar nominations — for Best Picture on which King was a producer and Best Original Screenplay for the script he co-wrote with Will Berson, Kenneth Lucas and Keith Lucas.

As part of his duties, King announced winners of three $25,000 Spirit Awards cash grants for emerging filmmakers: the Someone To Watch Award, the Producers Award and the Truer Than Fiction Award.

Ekwa Msangi, director of Farewell Amor, received the Someone to Watch Award, given to “filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition.” King won the same award in 2014 for his film Newlyweeds.

Gerry Kim received the Producers Award and Pier Kids director Elegance Bratton received the Truer Than Fiction Awar presented to emerging directors of non-fiction features.

The remainder of this year’s Spirit Awards winners will be revealed in the April 22 ceremony hosted by SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor.

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