"Into the Wild" Dominates Gotham Awards

Actor Sean Penn presents the life achievement award onstage during the 35th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Al Pacino held at the Kodak Theatre on June 7, 2007 in Hollywood, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty for AFI

Sean Penn and Michael Moore demonstrated their power in the independent film world, taking top honors at the 17th annual Gotham Awards.

Penn's "Into the Wild," which he adapted from Jon Krakauer's best-seller about a doomed young idealist, won best feature. Moore, a Flint, Mich., native who maintains a home near Traverse City, Mich., won the award for best documentary for "Sicko," in which he takes the pulse of America's health care system and finds it seriously ailing.

Photo Essay: Sean Penn
The awards were presented by the Independent Feature Project at the Steiner Studios in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on Tuesday. The event will air Dec. 8 on The Documentary Channel.

Roger Ebert, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Javier Bardem and Mira Nair were among those presented with honorary Gotham Awards for their contributions to independent film.

The best ensemble cast award went to two movies, "Talk to Me" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Other winners included: breakthrough director, Craig Zobel for "Great World of Sound"; breakthrough actor, Ellen Page for "Juno"; and best film not playing at a theater near you, "Frownland," directed by Ronald Bronstein.
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