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DID YOU READ

Look who’s talking.

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Not so red after all.
This is old, but we couldn’t let it slide without a mention: Annie Proulx‘s piece in the Guardian, oof! We realize she was hurting after the "Crash" Oscar win (and many of us with her), but Annie, if you can’t maintain the facade of graciousness in defeat expected of those passed over for the award, at least put up a similarly phony facade of indifference. Arias on the banality and self-congratulatory nature of the Academy Awards are nothing new — hearing them from a Pulitzer Prize-winner who should know better, and worse, one who clearly cares a lot regardless, is agonizing.

Also scripting himself: in the Independent, director Michael Caton-Jones, whose "Shooting Dogs," a drama starring John Hurt and set during the Rwandan genocide, writes about shooting on the site of such atrocities and sometimes inadvertently triggering flashbacks amongst locals.

And an interview sampling:

"AMERICANese" director Eric Byler chats with Jeff Yang and muses on Asian American masculinity at SF Gate:

"I was interested in portraying a man who doesn’t need to adopt Western culture’s brand of masculinity, that sense of bluster and self-promotion," [Byler] says. "It’s not that he’s trying to be tough — he just doesn’t feel the need to do a tap dance for you. This is a guy who’s just as interesting in a moment’s solitude as he would be if he were in the middle of a screaming confrontation or running down the street chased by aliens."

David Cronenberg discusses which of his many announced future films he’s actually making with Peter Howell at the Toronto Star:

Red Cars: "Have you gone to http://www.redcars.it? My script is now a book, a beautiful coffee table book for fans of Formula One or of my work or whatever. It’s expensive, but it’s really beautiful and the printing is exquisite. I would be happy if some producer said, ‘Yes, I want to make this movie,’ but so far, no one has. So unless that happens, it’s not going to be a movie. At least it’s a book."

Jon "Napoleon Dynamite Forever" Heder talks with Craig Modderno at the New York Times:

The good side of fame was having Tom Cruise tell me how much he loved my movie and how talented I was. It gave me the confidence to walk up to someone I admire like the guy who plays Ali G, who I approached at a premiere. Women did come up to me a lot, but I was then and am now married, so I only saw them as fans of the film. Lots of people looked at me as a one-hit wonder. It’s funny, but if you don’t have a television and haven’t seen me on a talk show or hosting "Saturday Night Live," I don’t see why you wouldn’t believe that I’m mentally disabled.

Liz Mermin, director of doc "The Beauty Academy of Kabul," emails with Daniel Nemet-Nejat at his blog, 40 Years In The Desert:

Yes, absolutely, I was wary of [Beauty Without Border‘s ideals] (though I’m not sure they thought they were spreading democracy—maybe "freedom?"). But I’ve also come to think that there’s a certain condescension implicit in that kind of fear of cultural imperialism. I just got back from a three month shoot in an outsourcing company in India, and a lot of the same concerns came up there. My feeling is that Afghanistan (like India) is home to many ancient cultures, with far deeper roots than American culture. The women I met in Kabul knew what they liked and what they didn’t, and they didn’t change their own sense of what was beautiful and what wasn’t because of the opinions of the Americans. They still prefer Bollywood to Hollywood, and all the teachers’ efforts to get them to use less eyeliner or glitter were lost the moment they left the school. I think the students took what they wanted to from the school and left the rest.

Vanessa Redgrave is given a pleasantly punchy profile in the Observer Magazine by Lynn Barber:

The trouble is that she takes interviews terribly seriously. She has a great (probably deserved) mistrust of journalists and scans each question for hidden bear-traps before answering at tediously cautious length. She seems drawn to put the heaviest possible spin on everything. When I ask whether she enjoyed doing Nip/Tuck with her daughter Joely, she gives me a lecture about how there are two sides to plastic surgery and how some plastic surgeons do really wonderful restorative work on terrible disfigurements. She says this as though it will come as complete news to me. Only after five minutes on the two sides of plastic surgery do I get the answer to my original question: Yes, she enjoyed doing Nip/Tuck and would do it again if asked.

Susan Sarandon discusses her affair with Louis Malle (among other things) with Suzie Mackenzie in the Guardian:

Malle was very smart, very charismatic, very different, she says. It didn’t feel like the cliché of the actress and the director, but more and more it didn’t feel right. "The problem is, if you start to sleep with the director while you’re making a film, it’s very difficult to break that dynamic – that you are there to make his world happen – after the film is over. Because you are not going in on your own grounds. And if, further down the line, your world starts to intrude, then you are viewed as, ‘You’re very ambitious, aren’t you?’ "

Director/screenwriter Robert Towne, with Stephen Hunter at the Washington Post on "Ask the Dust" (certainly the worst film we’ve seen this year, and one that made us (and Andrea Meyer) think back and wonder when Colin Farrell wasn’t terribly miscast) and his somewhat legendary career as a script doctor:

His most legendary fix was on "The Godfather." Coppola called in a panic because he was just about to lose Marlon Brando and he still didn’t have a scene where Brando and Al Pacino
face each other late in the picture, as lord and inheritor and as
friends and also as old Jedi to young Jedi. Towne flew in, looked at
rushes to get a sense of what was going on and also looked at the cover
of the book, which was a stylized version of a hand and marionette
strings. He also spoke to Brando because he wanted the actor’s ideas.

"Brando said, ‘Just once I want Vito not to be inarticulate. He’s
talking to his son; he’s telling the truth; he’d know what he has to
say.’"

Hugo Weaving, talks to Choire Sicha at the LA Times:

"You’re certainly pushed into selling yourself as a commodity in order to sell the product. I will engage in the selling of the film. But I will try not to engage in the selling of the image, because I find that it’s easier to go on and make another film — because the next character is actually obstructed if your image is bigger than it. So the longer you keep the mask on, metaphorically and physically, the better."

+ Blood on the red carpet (Guardian)
+ Bringing the horrors of the Rwandan genocide to the big screen (Independent)
+ The Man Show (SF Gate)
+ Cronenberg has no need for Painkillers (Toronto Star)
+ Working on His Movie Star Badge (NY Times)
+ An Interview with the Director of The Beauty Academy of Kabul (40 Years In The Desert)
+ She’s got issues (Observer Magazine)
+ A fine romancer (Guardian)
+ Towne and City (Washington Post)
+ Just who exactly is this guy? (LA Times)

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

via GIPHY

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.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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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 IFC.com 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….

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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.

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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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