Actor Ryan Gosling received the first ever Independent Award at the 23rd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival last night, January 29th. Dozens of screaming fans awaited Gosling’s arrival at the Lobero Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara.
The Independent Award acknowledges an artist who demonstrates excellence and contributes significantly to the independent film community.
Craig Gillespie, director of Lars and The Real Girl, which stars Gosling as an unconventional young man carting around a mannequin as his girlfriend, said he is impressed with the young actor’s resume.
“I’m thrilled that Ryan’s being honored here and honestly, it’s deserved. What’s astounding to me is that he’s only 27 and he has a body of work like this to speak for and it’s so diverse.”
Janelle Riley, moderator of the ceremony’s interview with Gosling, expressed her amazement with the breadth of characters he portrays.
“Ryan Gosling is one of those actors who brings humanity to every role he takes on, be it a violent skinhead, a love-struck carpenter, a crack-addicted teacher or a sweetly delusional romantic.”
Gosling is most well-known for his role in The Notebook, but has not allowed himself to become restricted to mainstream films.
He believes that independent films offer actors a degree of freedom unattainable in big-budget commercial films.
“I like them [independent films] a lot because there is just less pressure for them to be successful,” said Gosling.
“Somebody puts millions and millions of dollars into a movie, you’ve gotta make that back. So then there’s just a lot of pressure on the movie. The less money, the more freedom you have.”
Gosling also shared a few stories about spontaneous decisions during low-budget filming.
“It was really fun because we didn’t have any money. So we were just sneaking into subways with cameras and shooting these scenes.”