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What’s Up In October

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” Film Arts Guild/Kino]

The Films of Dziga Vertov

Oct 1 -8

NYC’s Anthology Film Archives presents another of its Essential Cinema series, this time focusing on one of the premier documentarians of the Soviet Cinema, Dziga Vertov. Be sure to catch his influential experimental film “The Man with a Movie Camera.”

Otto Preminger: Notorious

Oct 1-29

This month-long series at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art provides a centenary tribute to the provocative director and offers a chance to view his most beloved films with his seldom-seen work. We recommend catching the rarely screened German version of his 1953 “The Moon is Blue,” shot while his American actors took breaks.

Oscar’s Docs, Part Two: 1961 – 1976

Oct 2-30

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (in Beverly Hills) continues its ongoing retrospective, showcasing each of the Oscar winners for Best Documentary between the years 1961 and 1976. This month’s screenings focus on the years 1965 and 1972, featuring films about civil unrest in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and interviews with American soldiers in Vietnam about the My Lai Massacres.

Coney Island Film Festival

Oct 6-8

Enjoy a dose of good ol’ fashioned carny culture at the Coney Island Film Festival in Brooklyn. Opening night offers live performances by sideshow and burlesque stars, along with a screening of “American Carny: True Tales of the Circus Sideshow.”

The New Yorker Festival

Oct 6-8

The New Yorker Festival returns for its seventh year in a celebratory weekend of public discourse on arts and ideas taking place at multiple venues in NYC…that’s at the time of writing this already almost entirely sold out. Damn. We’d go to the “Milos Forman talks with David Denby” if only we could.

The First Annual Canine Film Festival

Oct 7-8

San Francisco hosts the first ever festival dedicated solely to films starring man’s best friend. Comedian Fred Willard will be present for a special screening of Christopher Guest’s “Best in Show.” Ironically, dogs are not allowed in the theater.

Banking on Heaven with Laurie Allen

Oct 8

Polygamy is all the rage in 2006: first HBO’s “Big Love” and now “Banking on Heaven,” a new doc about the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints communities of Colorado City, AZ and Hilldale, UT. Producer/writer Laurie Allen, who escaped the polygamous lifestyle at age 16, will be on hand for a discussion following this screening, at Tucson, AZ’s Loft Cinema.

An Independent Spirit: Monte Hellman

Oct 12-17

The Brooklyn Academy of Music rewards cult director Monte Hellman this month with a retrospective that includes many of his much-loved low-budget genre films, which often starred Jack Nicholson or Warren Oates. Be sure to catch the Nicholson-penned “Ride in the Whirlwind,” followed by a Q & A with the director.

Frankenfest: Frankenstein Through the Ages

Oct 13-Nov 1

From Boris Karloff to Peter Boyle, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” has been a cultural icon of the American cinema since the earliest days of Hollywood sound. This year marks the 75th anniversary since the release of Universal’s classic version of “Frankenstein,” and DC’s AFI Silver Theatre honors this horror legacy with a retrospective of Hollywood re-imaginings and re-tellings of the Shelley classic.

Vienna International Film Festival

Oct 13-25

This Austrian film festival dedicates itself to showcasing the newest feature films of every genre and structural form imaginable. This year’s festival will include a special tribute to British punk documentarian Peter Whitehead and the special program “Tales of the Jungle,” which explores the use of the jungle as a cinematographic motif in film.

Kill Bill: The Unseen, Uncensored Full-Length Cut

Oct 14

Quentin Tarantino promises to be on hand at the Alamo Theater in Austin, TX, for a special full-length screening of his “Kill Bill” films. It’s already sold out, but we’re hoping this will eventually lead to either a theatrical or DVD release of the full-length cut. C’mon…please?

From The Tsars To The Stars: A Journey Through Russian Fantastik Cinema

Oct 19-25

American Cinematheque puts together an awesome series of Russian sci-fi, fantasy and horror films at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, sprawling from “Aelita: Queen of Mars” to Tarkovsky’s masterpiece “Solaris.”

The Blood Is The Life – Vampires On Film And Dusk-To-Dawn Horrorthon!

Oct 25-28

Vampires and films have always been joined at the hip — from F. W. Murnau’s silent “Nosferatu” to Joel Schumacher’s unintentionally (?) camp “The Lost Boys.” Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre has a bloodsucking horrorthon spanning the ages.

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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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