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American Airlines announces new $50,000 award for independent film director

American Airlines is recognizing the importance of women in film by announcing a new $50,000 award for independent film directors at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.

American Airlines is recognizing the importance of women in film by announcing a new $50,000 award for independent film directors at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Bonnie Award will be given to an up-and-coming female director and seeks to honor their innovative vision and breakthrough work in the entertainment industry.

The award’s namesake, Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, was the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. Tiburzi began her career in 1973 when she was hired by American Airlines as a flight engineer. Tiburzi flew for American for 26 years before retiring.


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

“I was surrounded by the aviation culture my entire life and I knew becoming a pilot was what I wanted,” Tiburzi said. “I had to work harder, longer and be better just to be equal, but American Airlines didn’t shy away from hiring a woman. To be recognized and bring back this part of my life is exhilarating.”

As the preferred airline to the entertainment industry, American Airlines is proud to be the official airline and premier sponsor of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards is the premiere awards show for the independent film community and continues to show its dedication to recognizing and supporting diverse artists through its collaboration with American Airlines.

“At Film Independent we have a deep and longstanding commitment to supporting female directors and increasing diversity in filmmaking,” said President Josh Welsh, “and we’re honored to deepen our partnership with American Airlines on this new venture, the Bonnie Award.”

Submissions and nominations for the first Bonnie Award will open in June and nominees will be announced in November. The first Bonnie Award will be presented during the 2018 Spirit Awards season in Los Angeles.

American is proud to support initiatives and events throughout the Los Angeles area. We are active in supporting local organizations including Los Angeles LGBT Center, the LA Mission and the Southern California Special Olympics. Within the entertainment industry we continue to partner with the American Film Institute, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and The Hollywood Bowl. In 2016 American formed an advisory council of influencers from leading entertainment corporations to shape future decisions.