With stunning authenticity, Nisreen Faour was gifted with the rare ability to express any emotion required of her on screen, pulling audiences right in with her. The Israeli-born actress found success...
Amreeka and Sin Nombre also made the list, which was announced in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning (01Dec09).
The Last Station, which chronicles the final days of Russian author Leo Tolstoy, and the acclaimed Precious scored the most nominations with five each.
Early Oscar favourite The Hurt Locker missed out on a nomination because it was selected last year (08).
Maria Bello (Downloading Nancy), Nisreen Faour (Amreeka), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Gywneth Paltrow (Two Lovers) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) will fight for the Best Female Lead prize, while the Best Male Lead honour will be contested by Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, ((500) Days of Summer) Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo) and Adam Scott (The Vicious Kind).
Meanwhile, Ethan & Joel Coen (A Serious Man), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Michael Hoffman (The Last Station) lead the Best Director nominations list.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Food, Inc., More Than a Game, October Country and Which Way Home will battle for the Best Documentary honours, while A Prophet, An Education, Everlasting Moments, Mother and The Maid will compete for Best Foreign Film.
To be eligible for an Independent Spirit nod, all films must have been made for less than $20 million (£12.5 million). Films must have either screened at a major film festival including Sundance, Toronto or Film Independent’s own Los Angeles Film Festival or had a one-week engagement at a commercial theatre.
The awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on 5 March (10).
Gained international recognition for her role as a Palestinian woman who emigrates to the US with her son in "Amreeka"; earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead
Performed in more than 15 plays for adults and children, at theatres all over the world
First feature film, "In the ninth month" for director Ali Nassar
Played a leading role in the film, "Gehalim Lohashot" (previously known as "Whispering Embers")
Nominated for the 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead ("Amreeka")
With stunning authenticity, Nisreen Faour was gifted with the rare ability to express any emotion required of her on screen, pulling audiences right in with her. The Israeli-born actress found success on the international stage before conquering the big screen in critically acclaimed foreign films such as "In the 9th Month" (2002), playing a mother and wife of an exiled husband, and "Gehalim Iohashot" ("For My Father"/"Whispering Embers") (2008) as an abandoned Israeli-Arab wife. But it was her perfect turn as a Palestinian immigrant and single mother creating a new life for her and her son in the United States in "Amreeka" (2009) that brought her international acclaim. While she started off her career as an actress in mostly Israeli-produced films, Faour's consistently powerful performances in movies that explored universal themes of love, loss and survival established her as an actress who transcended all borders.
Nisreen Faour was born on Feb. 8, 1972 in Tarshiha, Israel. At the age of 16, she traveled to the United States to study play arts. She then moved back to the village of Tarsihina to finish secondary school. The classically trained stage actress performed in more than 15 plays - most of them award-winning - for adults and children worldwide. She had a starring role in "Sarhan and the Seniorita," which won a Best Acting Award at the Monodrama Festival in 1996, "Nono colors from the deaf theater," a first-place winner in the Public Stage Festival in 2002, "Don Kichote" for the Haifa International Festival, and "Happy Woman" produced by the National Palestinian Theater. Not content with just performing on stage, Faour studied theater directing at Haifa University. She was also very much involved in several causes. She also worked as a drama mentor in schools and in foundations with special needs, as well as became a yoga teacher and Deksha giver (one who helps restore perfect energy flow to the body) to increase awareness of the quality of life and the environment in India.
Faour made her onscreen acting debut in the feature film "In the 9th Month," a tragic love story told in the context of an oppressed people who rise above their hardships through a young boy named Amal. Directed by acclaimed Arab-Israeli director, Ali Nassar, the film was also an updated version of an Arab legend about Jews in black robes who stole children. Faour delivered a moving performance as Samira, Amal's mother, who endures a hard life that includes being separated from her exiled husband and living in a village that is tightly controlled by Israeli authorities. The film was shown in major theaters in Los Angeles, Paris, Carthage, Tunisia, Iran and at the Nazareth Film Festival, where Faour received a Medal of Excellence for her performance. Faour then scored a leading role in "Gehalim Iohashot," which Variety described as "an Israeli role-reversal spin on 'The Way We Were' (1973)." Faour gave an earnest performance as Abir, an Arab-Israeli wife who was abandoned by her communist husband because she did not share his idealistic and passionate views on leftist politics. The film, which premiered at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival, exposed Faour's acting prowess to an even bigger audience and began her ascent as an international celebrity.