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DID YOU READ

What’s Up In April

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” TeleCulture, 1983]

Fassbinder in the Collection

Apr. 2 – 22

To mark the acquisition of the remastered version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (which will also be screening, its 919 minutes spread out over four days), NYC’s MoMA presents a selection of Fassbinder films from their vast collection. The series also includes the North American premieres of two documentaries by Juliane Lorenz, director of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, about the restoration of “Alexanderplatz.”

The 14th New York African Film Festival

Apr. 4 – 12

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana, NY’s Walter Reade Theater presents this annual film festival of titles meant to dismantle previous notions and prejudices about African society. This year’s festival includes a special feature focusing on rarely seen archival footage, ranging from colonial propaganda films to newsreels made shortly after independence.

Fares to Remember: Seven Movies for Taxi 07

In honor of the modern-day taxicab’s 100th anniversary and the upcoming “Taxi Week” in New York, the IFC Center presents a seven-film tribute to taxis in film. Films to be screened include Martin Scorsese’s iconic “Taxi Driver” (of course!), the Harold Lloyd silent comedy “Speedy,” Neil Jordan’s “Mona Lisa” and others. Films not to be screened include the Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah “comedy” “Taxi” and any selections from HBO’s “Taxi Cab Confessions” series.

Noir City: Film Noir at the Aero and Egyptian Theaters

Apr. 12 – May 2

Two series are presented at the Aero and Egyptian Theaters in Santa Monica and Hollywood, beginning with “Noir City: Ocean View” at the Aero, highlighting the city’s film noir history, beginning with a screening of Billy Wilder’s classic “Double Indemnity.” To the Egyptian comes a film festival pitting both classic and obscure noirs set in the cities of Los Angeles and New York, when noir was at its blackest. Each double bill offers one film set in New York and the other in LA.

Thai Takes 3: Independent Film Festival

Apr. 13 – 15

This indie film fest highlights emerging and established Thai and Thai-American filmmakers and will be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. Be sure to catch “The Unseeable,” the latest from director Wisit Sasanatieng (“Tears of the Black Tiger”), and the semi-autobiographical “The Tin Mine” from director Jira Maligool.

Sarasota Film Festival

Apr. 13 – 22

This annual film festival descends upon balmy Sarasota for the ninth year in a row, establishing this small Florida city as home to one of the fastest growing film festivals in North America. This year’s highlights include the presentation of a Humanitarian Award to actor Edward Norton, discussions with Oscar-nominated actress Marcia Gay Harden and former “Sopranos” mobster Joe Pantoliano about their new movie “Canvas,” and an international street fair following a day of screenings of films from around the world.

Recent Films by Hong Sang-soo

Apr. 16 – 21

The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts screenings of three of Korean master Hong Sang-soo’s latest films, including 2004’s “Woman is the Future of Man,” 2005’s “Tale of Cinema” and 2006’s “Woman on the Beach.”

“Leave Her to Heaven”

Apr. 20

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in Beverly Hills presents this rare screening of 1945’s “Leave Her to Heaven,” John M. Stahl’s nearly forgotten noir starring “Laura”‘s Gene Tierney in her only Oscar-nominated role as a dangerously jealous wife. It’s a rare chance to enjoy this film in all of its lurid Technicolor beauty.

Great to Be Nominated

Apr. 23 – May 7

This series, sponsored by Beverly Hills’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, features a picture from each Academy Award year that received the most nominations without winning the Best Picture award. The films of April focus on the late 1970s and include a 30th anniversary screening of “Star Wars,” a newly restored print of the Fred Zinnemann-directed “Julia,” Warren Beatty’s directorial debut “Heaven Can Wait,” and the Bob Fosse bio-musical “All That Jazz.”

9th Annual Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival

Apr. 25 – 29

Chicago Sun-Times critic, Pulitzer Prize winner and “thumbs up” creator Roger Ebert hosts this film festival based out of Champaign, IL, on a group of hand-selected critically overlooked films. This year’s festival includes screenings of the sci-fi thriller “Gattaca,” Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and the Ebert-penned “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Ebert, still recuperating from surgery, will be there watching the film and introducing the festival.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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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.

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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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