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DID YOU READ

Tribeca: Fin.

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Treatment 11?
The complete list of festival winner is here. Selections:

Best Narrative Feature: "Blessed By Fire," Dir: Tristán Bauer (Spain)

Best Doc: "The War Tapes," Dir: Deborah Scranton (USA)

Best NY Narrative Feature: "The Treatment," Dir: Oren Rudavsky

Best NY Doc Feature: "When I Came Home," Dir: Dan Lohaus

Jury Prize: "Voices of Bam," Dirs: Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms (The Netherlands)

Audience Award: "The Cats of Mirikitani," Dir: Linda Hattendorf

The general grumblings about the festival seem to be that it’s looking a little porky around the midsection, and that sure as hell isn’t muscle under there in the narrative programs. indieWIRE‘s Eugene Hernandez kicks off an article on "Toots" and "Rock the Bells," two docs he liked, with:

There has been considerable griping among buyers again at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, with industry-types maintaining that there simply are not enough quality films to warrant the size of the festival’s program. In the case of the event’s doc programming, though, insiders and audiences alike seemed to connect with a number of films this year.

At his blog, he writes that:

Having spoken with a number of film biz insiders and journalists, its clear to me that the festival has to really grapple with the fact that much of the industry seems to look upon their event with a major sense of dread. This year’s biggest complaints remain the size of program, and now insiders are unhappy with the fact that the event takes place all over town. I completely agree with the former concern and disagree entirely with the latter.

At Like Anna Karina’s Sweater, Filmbrain wonders "[D]oes NYC truly need a festival of this size?", and points out that:

During the two weeks of the TFF, there was also the opportunity to see a dozen Naruse films, Melville’s "Army of Shadows," an impressive African Film Festival, an Altman retrospective, and not to mention the releases of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," "Three Times," and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance." Were two hundred additional films really necessary?

At half the size, the festival would still be large enough to be classified a "big" event, and would have forced the selection committee to pare down the selections — some of which, quite frankly, didn’t belong in an international film festival.

We surrendered to allergies and illness this weekend and gave up on trying to catch a few final films. Spirit: broken. We have to agree with the oversized argument — we understand that program size is an easy way to establish dominance, particularly since the festival is so young: Tribeca! It’s huge! But we saw plenty of things that weren’t worth seeing, and with the size of the program it’s hard to word of mouth to spread about a title that is worthy. We can live with the expansion into midtown. We can live with the incongruous, glossy big-budget premieres. But it does the smaller films a disservice to be tucked away in a massive selection of mid-level films mostly distinguished by having one or two recognizable names attached.

If you’d like to glance over coverage, we suggest Aaron Hillis at Premiere, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, who in a fit of weariness launches into a very funny rant about how the "mockumentary must be stopped," while also suggesting that the problems plaguing American indie narrative cinema stem from the fact that "[m]ost younger filmmakers these days have no background in the old-fashioned narrative traditions, like literature or drama, let alone in the Freudian and/or Marxist theories of personality and society that underpinned them for most of the 20th century." And there’s also Bilge Ebiri and Logan Hill at New York, who’ve fearlessly plowed through an impressive selection of films (Hill writes of "Fat Girls": "A lot of the Tribeca selections feel as if they’ve been filmed by 20-year-olds, but this promising debut actually was." Heh.).

We did manage to see one last film which we liked quite a bit: Jan Svankmajer‘s "Lunacy," which purports to be a horror film (inspired by two Poe stories and the Marquis de Sade), but is really just another example of Svankmajer’s deadpan (and often very funny) surrealism. Jean, a gaunt, naive young man (Pavel Liska), is on his way back from his mother’s funeral when he’s waylaid by the Marquis (Jan Triska), who offers him a ride and is soon making him the butt of a series of cruel jokes. Eventually, the Marquis convinces Jean to overcome his fears of madness (his mother went insane) by voluntarily checking himself into a chaotic asylum run by one of the Marquis’ friends.

Scenes are punctuated by interludes in which Svankmajer puts his distinctive stop-motion technique to use on meat products. Pieces of steak inch across the floor; cow tongues crawl across the table and attempt to lap up beer. At once whimsical and disturbing, they’re the unforgettable takeaway image from the film, though as lingering is the underlying sense of urgency. In the asylum-as-political-allegory, things are either run by a terrifyingly strict Dr. Coulmiere or the ridiculously lax Dr. Murlloppe, but it’s clear that both are as insane as any of their patients.

+ 2006 Award Winners (TribecaFilmFestival.com)
+ TRIBECA ’06: The Doc Is In: "Toots" and "Rock The Bells" (indieWIRE)
+ tff (eugonline)
+ Tribeca Report 2 – The Misses (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater)
+ Tribeca Updates (Premiere)
+ Tribeca roundup: Further hints of apocalypse, one American indie worth seeing (at last) and Just Say No to the mockumentary (Salon)
+ Tribeca Scorecard (New York)

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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!

via GIPHY

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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