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DID YOU READ

The First-Ever Cinema Eye Honors.

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03192008_cinemaeye.jpgLooking over the many documentarians in the crowd gathered at the first-ever Cinema Eye Honors for nonfiction film last night, awards co-chair AJ Schnack (himself a filmmaker) proclaimed “I don’t see journalists, I don’t see activists — I see filmmakers and I see artists.” Not that there’s anything wrong with journalism or activism, but it’s a fair point — subject matter so often comes first and foremost when people look at a documentary film, and everyone working behind the camera is relegated to the role of a chronicler. One of the common themes of the evening, and one of the reasons the Cinema Eye Honors were created, was that nonfiction films deserve just as serious a consideration of their craftsmanship, of their art, as narratives, which is why there were awards given out for editing, cinematography and production, in addition to ones recognizing films and directors.

Over the course of two friendly and informal hours that featured presenters like recent Oscar-winner Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) and Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofski (“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”), thoughts on the state of documentaries, the difficulties and making them and the frequent lack of recognition were unveiled, and nifty statuettes were dispensed. “Manda Bala (Send a Bullet,)” Jason Kohn’s look at class issues, corruption and kidnapping in Brazil, walked away with the most awards — three, for editing, cinematography and overall outstanding achievement. The winners were selected by an invited pool of filmmakers, festival directors and distributors, with the exception of the audience award, which was determined by public vote and which went, appropriately, to the Seth Gordon’s crowd-pleasing look at competitive video gaming, “The King of Kong.”

After the jump, a complete list of winners and a way low quality video of Jason Kohn’s funny and fervent acceptance speech for the night’s big prize (that’s Barbara Kopple presenting the award).

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[Winners are in bold.]

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РDir. Philip Gr̦ning, Prods. Philip Gr̦ning, Elda Guidinetti, Andres Pfaffli & Michael Weber
* LAKE OF FIRE – Dir., Prod. – Tony Kaye
* MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET – Dir. Jason Kohn, Prods. Joey Frank, Jared Goldman & Jason Kohn)
* THE MONASTERY – MR. VIG AND THE NUN – Dir. Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Prod. Sigrid Dyekjær
* NO END IN SIGHT – Dir. Charles Ferguson, Prods. Jennie Amias, Charles Ferguson & Jessie Vogelson

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РPhilip Gr̦ning
* LAKE OF FIRE – Tony Kaye
* MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) – Jason Kohn
* TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE – Alex Gibney
* ZOO – Robinson Devor

Outstanding Achievement in Production
* BLINDSIGHT – Sybil Robson Orr
* CHICAGO 10 – Brett Morgan & Graydon Carter
* GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL – Seth Kanegis, Tomas Radoor & Mikael Rieks
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РPhilip Gr̦ning, Elda Guidinetti, Andres Pfaffli & Michael Weber
* LAKE OF FIRE – Tony Kaye
* MANDA BALA – Joey Frank, Jared Goldman & Jason Kohn

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РPhilip Gr̦ning
* LAKE OF FIRE – Tony Kaye
* MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) – Heloisa Passos
* MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES – Peter Mettler
* ZOO – Sean Kirby

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
* CRAZY LOVE – David Zieff
* FLYING: CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN – Niels Pagh Andersen
* GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL – Adam Nielsen
* LAKE OF FIRE – Peter Goddard
* MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) – Doug Abel, Jenny Golden & Andy Grieve
* NO END IN SIGHT – Chad Beck and Cindy Lee

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation
* CHICAGO 10 – Animation by Curious Pictures
* HELVETICA – Motions Graphics by Trollbäck & Co.
* THE PRISONER OR: HOW I PLANNED TO KILL TONY BLAIR – Graphic Design by Petra Epperlein
* THE UNFORESEEN – Motion Graphics by Jef Sewell
* SUPER AMIGOS – Animation by David Quesnelle

Outstanding Debut Feature
* BILLY THE KID – Jennifer Venditti
* MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) – Jason Kohn
* THE MONASTERY – MR. VIG AND THE NUN – Pernille Rose Gronkjær
* NO END IN SIGHT – Charles Ferguson
* A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY – Esther B. Robinson

Outstanding International Feature
* GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL – Dir. Asger Leth, Prods. Seth Kanegis, Tomas Radoor and Mikael Rieks
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РDir. Philip Gr̦ning, Prods. Philip Gr̦ning, Elda Guidinetti, Andres Pfaffli & Michael Weber
* MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES – Dir. Jennifer Baichwal, Prods. Jennifer Baichwal, Daniel Iron & Nick de Pencier
* THE MONASTERY – MR. VIG & THE NUN – Dir. Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Prod. Sigrid Dyekjær
* PLEASE VOTE FOR ME – Dir. Weijun Chen, Prod. Don Edkins

Audience Choice Prize
* DEEP WATER – Dirs. Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell
* IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON – Dir. David Sington
* INTO GREAT SILENCE РDir. Philip Gr̦ning
* JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN – Dir. Julien Temple
* THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS – Dir. Seth Gordon
* MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES – Dir. Jennifer Baichwal
* NO END IN SIGHT – Dir. Charles Ferguson
* SICKO – Dir. Michael Moore

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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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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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