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DID YOU READ

TIFF, PIFF, VIFF, and other FFs.

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Ai Maeda and Shuuji Kashiwabara.The Tokyo International Film Festival, for all it’s size, remains in search of an identity. Which may be why the Japan TimesMark Schilling and Mark Thompson commenting on the festival’s award-winners is more interesting than the list of winners itself.

Schilling, who sat on the jury for the Japanese Eyes section, writes about how he had "no hesitation" in selecting, with his fellow critic-jurors, Mitsuo Yanagimachi‘s "Who’s Camus Anyway?" (which we also loved) for the Best Picture Award and Riichiro Mashima‘s "Ski Jumping Pairs-Road to Torino 2006" for the Special Award. The latter does sound amazing:

Advertised as a "human documentary," the film is in fact a brilliant send-up of all those po-faced NHK docs on triumphs-against-adversity. It then segues, midway, into — well, I really shouldn’t say, only that I have never — and I mean never — seen a Japanese film so all-fours-in-the-air funny. Think "Airplane" on the ski slopes. It’s that good.

Thompson is less pleased that Kichitaro Negichi‘s sentimental "What the Snow Brings" picked up the Sakura Grand Prix, Best Director and Best Actor award, when he reports that the critical favorite was clearly Chinese title "You and Me."

The LA Weekly‘s Scott Foundas recaps the bliss that is the Pusan International Film Festival, a fest that’s acquired an astonishingly hip reputation, partially on the basis of South Korea’s current status as the darling of edgy film:

Having written here earlier this year that Sundance "is one of the youngest of film festivals," after a few days in Pusan, I find myself having to eat my words. Indeed, Pusan is so overrun with the young — even the 60-ish festival director, Kim Dong-Ho, possesses the energy (and the ability to party into the wee morning hours) of someone one-third his age — that you begin to wonder what exactly they do with all the old people.

Foundas also writes, less deliriously, about L.A.’s soon-to-kick-off AFI Fest, which he sees as disappointing and, like TIFF, a big festival in search of an identity. Following his intro are blurbs about each film being screened — many have been kicking around the fest circuit for a while, but here’s an interesting bit:

06/05 (Netherlands)

Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November, 2004, in retaliation against his short film "Submission," a coarse condemnation of the misogyny inherent in Islamic fundamentalism. There may be an emotional imperative to look kindly upon van Gogh’s last completed feature, but "06/05" is simply dreadful, seizing on the death of Pim Fortuyn — the right-wing politician who shared van Gogh’s anti-immigration views and, ultimately, his same terrible fate — as the excuse for a glib speculative thriller. (ArcLight 11, Fri., Nov. 4, 10 p.m.; ArcLight 14, Sun., Nov. 6, 1 p.m.) (Jessica Winter)

(We are a bit obsessed with T. van Gogh, but can you blame us? If the point of making a short film is to use it to draw attention to yourself (generally using this attention to go on to make features) he may have been, in his unfortunate way, the most successful short film maker of our time.)

The Village Voice‘s Dennis Lim checks in from Vancouver International Film Festival, and Canada.com (link via Movie City Indie) reports that this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has set a new record: "Total film sales…have been estimated at more than $52 million, including $29 million domestic and $23 million international, says festival co-director Noah Cowan."

+ List of Award Winners (TIFF Official site)
+ Making a difference in Japanese cinema (Japan Times)
+ And the winner, by a nose, is… (Japan Times)
+ Chic Korea (LA Weekly)
+ How Am I Not Myself (LA Weekly)
+ Frame Canada (Village Voice)
+ T.O. film fest sets $52m sales records (Canada.com)

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.