Tragic Heath Ledger was honoured for his "dazzling creative spirit" by I'M NOT THERE filmmaker Todd Haynes at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday (23Feb08). In accepting the annual independent film event's first Robert Altman Award for director and ensemble cast, Haynes stated he was "shattered" by Ledger's "inconceivable absence." He said, "We all loved him so dearly. He really was unlike anybody I've ever known, giving up of himself less like an actor than a creative partner." Haynes then paid tribute to the late actor's hidden talents as a director of "diverse music videos," and revealed his actor pal was in the process of making his feature film directorial debut before he died in January (08). The moviemaker added, "He had just started circulating a feature script that he was planning to direct - an adaptation of The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis. "I have no doubt he would have made an astounding director... I treasure the time we shared on this film and the love and talent that he gave so freely." In presenting the Robert Altman Award, actress Patricia Clarkson added, "Anyone who has seen the film I'm Not There will remember the line, 'Live in your own times, child.' As actors, we were lucky to live in Heath's times. We only wish they could have been longer." Earlier during the prizegiving in Santa Monica, California, Cate Blanchett dedicated her Best Supporting Actress award to her I'm Not There co-star and fellow Aussie, Ledger, who she called "probably one of the most beautiful independent spirits of all."