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2005 Indie Spirit Awards: The Most Famous People in One Tent

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

On a day when many Hollywood hotshots snuck in one last mani-pedi or decided whether to go with the Prada or vintage Valentino, the independent film community gathered under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica for the 20th annual Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by the Independent Feature Project. On February 26, just one day before Oscar Sunday, Samuel L. Jackson took to the stage to oversee the festivities—and “Sideways” swept, winning all six awards for which the wine-drenched dramatic comedy was nominated.

Jackson joked about the progression of the event that used to be held in a restaurant. “We’ve only moved from a bad restaurant to a tent on the beach. My dream is that twenty years from now the Independent Spirit Awards will be held in an actual building,” he said. “Looking back, it seems that the only thing that hasn’t changed is Jim Jarmusch’s hair.”

Clad in more casual attire than at that other awards show, presenters like Kevin Bacon (nominated for best male performance in “The Woodsman” and wearing jeans) and Marisa Tomei (in the miniest of minidresses) handed out awards to the likes of Thomas Hayden Church, who won the first of “Sideways”‘ many honors, for best supporting actor. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the independent film community,” Church said, “because I gave my heart and soul to some small un-releasable films in the past and I want to thank Alex [Payne] for giving me another shot.”

When Paul Giamatti accepted his statue for best male lead, an honor many feel the actor was robbed of by the Academy, he said, “I’m really neither spirited or particularly independent, but it is awfully nice to be surrounded by folks who are.” “Sideways,” which presenter Robin Williams called “the way the country’s going,” also took home winged statues for best feature, best director, best screenplay, and best supporting actress for Virginia Madsen.

The award for best documentary went to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” At the podium, Berlinger said, “We’re so used to being on the loser list. This is really cool.”

Accepting the award for best foreign film, “The Sea Inside” director Alejandro Amenabar said, “I share this award with Javier Bardem, who said this is the best award of all, and he’s right.”

Zach Braff’s “Garden State” won the award for best first feature. Upon accepting the prize, the writer/director/star said, “All I ever wanted to do was make movies when I was a kid, so I guess this means I get to make more.”

Rodrigo de la Serna, who won the award for best debut performance for “The Motorcycle Diaries” was not there, giving audiences the opportunity to see his costar Gael Garcia Bernal onstage once again. The film also won the award for best cinematography. Director of photography Eric Gautier was not there either, so director Walter Salles accepted on his behalf.

There were three special grants of $20,000 awarded by event sponsors, including the Bravo/American Express Producers Award, which was awarded to Gina Kwon, producer of Miranda July’s Sundance favorite, “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” and the Direct TV/IFC Truer than Fiction Award, which was awarded to Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman for “Born into Brothels.”

When accepting the $20,000 Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award, “Chain” director Jem Cohen recounted a recent incident when he was filming the passing landscape from a train and the authorities confiscated his film. “I’ve been shooting landscapes from trains for as long as I’ve been making films. Documenting the world we live in is the very basis of my life of a filmmaker,” he said. “I think to be silent about such incidents, to pretend that they aren’t happening is disrespectful to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and to the independent spirit itself.”

Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” went home with best first screenplay and best female lead for Catalina Sandino Moreno. The John Cassavetes award went to Jacob Aaron Estes, a film that also won a special award for its ensemble cast. The entire group of young actors, including Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan ,Josh Peck, and Carly Schroeder were there to accept. Peck spoke for the group when he said, “This is definitely the most famous people I’ve ever seen in one tent.” He went on to thank the other cast members, the director, and all of their moms.

The Independent Spirit Awards are being rebroadcast on IFC throughout the week—a list of air times can be found here. This year, it seemed like the Oscars were trying to be more like the Independent Spirit Awards than the other way round—the New York Times lauded the freewheeling Indie Spirits here, while the LA Daily News talks to IFC’s own Evan Shapiro about how to hold an awards show people actually want to watch.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer):

“Sideways,” Producer: Michael London


Alexander Payne, “Sideways”


“Sideways,” Writers: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor


“Garden State,” Director: Zach Braff
Producers: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert, Dan Halsted, and Richard Klubeck


“Maria Full of Grace,” Writer: Joshua Marston

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for $500,000):

“Mean Creek,” Writer/Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Producers: Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE (Actors in their first significant role in a feature film):

Rodrigo de la Serna, “The Motorcycle Diaries”


Virginia Madsen, “Sideways”


Thomas Haden Church, “Sideways”


Catalina Sandino Moreno, “Maria Full of Grace”


Paul Giamatti, “Sideways”


“The Motorcycle Diaries,” Eric Gautier

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the Director):

“The Sea Inside” (Spain) Director: Alejandro Amenábar

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the Director):

“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” Directors: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky


Ensemble Cast: “Mean Creek”
Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Pec, Carly Schroeder

Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award:

Jem Cohen , director of “Chain”

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award:
Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman for “Born Into Brothels”

Bravo/American Express Producers Award:

Gina Kwon, producer of “The Good Girl” and “Me and You and Everyone We Know”

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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