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Lynn Shelton on “Humpday”

Lynn Shelton on “Humpday” (photo)

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If there were a prize for most outrageous premise at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Lynn Shelton’s “Humpday” would be ahead of the pack. The film follows Ben (“The Puffy Chair”‘s Mark Duplass) and Andrew (“The Blair Witch Project”‘s Joshua Leonard), two hetero friends who on a drunken night out come up with a plan to shoot themselves having sex with each other as a submission to their local alt-weekly’s annual amateur porn festival — it’s art, you see, and neither is willing to be the one to back down when sobered up the next day. For now, though, “Humpday” will have to settle for being Sundance’s early buzz film, its mix of squirmingly uncomfortable comedy, painfully realistic dialogue and bittersweet exploration of the ins and outs of male friendship and adult relationships winning the love of audiences and potential distributors alike. I sat down with the Seattle-based Shelton, fresh off a meeting with one of the latter, to talk about homemade porn and best bromance.

So… is Humpfest a real event?

Yeah.

And are the films that actually play there as, well, high concept as the one planned in “Humpday”?

I will admit that I have never been to Hump. It’s actually now called Hump — I think it was originally called Humpfest, that’s what I always remembered it being. It’s put on by The Stranger and it just finished its fourth year this October.From what I’ve heard, it’s a wide array. It’s amateur. It really is. Some filmmakers do it under pseudonyms, but I think it really is [mostly] just average people. I’m told that it’s like 75 percent not real porn, a lot of humorous stuff, goofy stuff like Sock Puppet Sex. [There are] some really artistic takes, but it’d be rare to see straight up normal porn. People really take it as an opportunity to play.

Did the festival spark the idea of the film, or did the film come first, with Hump worked in after?

The starting point of the film was Mark Duplass, who was in my same circle of filmmaker friends, but who I’d never met him in person until he came up to Seattle to act in a movie called “True Adolescents.” We found that our philosophies really coincided, and watching him act just completely blew me away. For me, I start with a person and then fish around for ideas and interesting challenges. I have to admit that the sexy hook angle was an attractive one — the idea of having a movie that actually might be marketable, or provide opportunity for some humor and real dramatic tension at the same time. I called Mark and said, essentially, I have this idea: two best friends who were real close in college, they’re a little bit older now, with two different personality types and lifestyles. They get into a situation where they decide that that have to try and have sex — I wasn’t even sure it was going to be making a porn.

01172009_humpday2.jpgMy buddy Joe Swanberg was in town staying with me, and he went to see Hump — with his interest in human sexuality, it was sort of a must-see for him. He was so funny for the next two days. He talked a lot about the gay porn he’d seen. He was really interested in it as a filmmaker and as a straight guy, the feelings it brought up in him as a straight guy…it was intriguing for him because he’d seen gay porn before. He couldn’t stop talking about it. It got my wheels turning. In the back of my head I have these themes I’d love to touch on in work at some point, and one of them has always been the boundaries of sexual identity. I’ve always been very fluid there and so I thought that most people were probably ultimately [the same]. [laugh] But I’ve realized that no, for some people, it’s much more rigid — especially for straight guys. Not all men, for sure, but a lot of straight guys I know seem particularly invested in being reassured and reassuring everybody else around them that they really are straight. So I thought it would be really great to take people who were particularly invested in their sexual identity, especially straight guys, who take each other so seriously and can be so competitive. That was where it all started.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

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.

via GIPHY

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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