Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, namesake of new award for female directors. Image via
Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, namesake of new award for female directors. Image via

One day ahead of the 32nd annual Spirit Awards ceremony, Film Independent and American Airlines announced Friday the creation of a $50,000 award that will be presented annually to an “up-and-coming female director.”

The Bonnie Award will honor a female director’s “innovative vision and breakthrough work in the entertainment industry,” according to American Airlines, which will sponsor the honor in conjunction with Film Independent.

The award, which will be presented beginning with the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards, is named after Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. She was hired by American as a flight engineer in 1973 and flew for 26 years. She is expected to be in attendance at Saturday’s Spirit Awards ceremony in Santa Monica.

“We’re inspired by Bonnie’s story and perseverance, and we are honored that this award for female directors will carry her name,” according to Fernand Fernandez, vice president of global marketing for American. “We are committed to building a diverse workforce and providing opportunities for people from all walks of life.”

Film Independent will begin accepting submissions for the honor in June, and nominations will be announced in November.

The film industry has long been under fire for the lack of female directors. American Airlines and Film Independent officials said they hope the new award will “shine a spotlight on women so they can have more opportunities to shine on their own.”

— City News Service

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