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Sundance 2009: “The September Issue.”

Sundance 2009: “The September Issue.” (photo)

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There’s a moment in “The September Issue” in which it seems, perhaps, that Miss Anna Wintour regrets. She’s just explained that her siblings work in global labor organization, in arranging low-income housing and as the political editor of the Guardian. “My brothers and sister are very amused by what I do,” she says, biting her lip, and for a second you believe that “Nuclear” Wintour, the famously glacial, controlling and all-powerful editor-in-chief of American Vogue, secretly wishes she’d gotten a medical degree and went off to Sudan with Doctors Without Borders. And then you don’t, because throughout R.J. Cutler’s documentary, which spans the assembling of the 2007 September issue of Vogue, the largest and most important of the year, Wintour keeps such a tight rein on how she’s portrayed that even moments of vulnerability seem calculated. It’s not much of a complaint — I would have loved a bit more depth, a bit more of something from the film, which skims merrily along the surface of its captivating topic, but the more you see of Wintour, the more it becomes clear that a creature that eats, sleeps and breathes media simply does not have unguarded moments in front of the camera.

Fortunately, “The September Issue” also has Grace Coddington, a former fashion model who’s now what a colleague calls the world’s greatest stylist, who’s Vogue‘s creative director and the one staff member unafraid to tell Wintour what she actually thinks — the others simper in constant terror and fold immediately when challenged. In a telling moment, Coddington confesses that she complained about her budget in front of the “September Issue” camera crew deliberately, as having such a think caught on tape is the only way to force Wintour to dole out more cash, the two yanking the doc team into their career-long push-pull without hesitation, an act that’s later echoed by the cameraman being enlisted in a shoot. Brash and down-to-earth, Coddington is the accessible answer to Wintour’s immaculate deadpan, and “The September Issue”‘s a warmer place because of her. But more interesting than any human drama are the instances we see of Vogue‘s power and place in the fashion industry. What the magazine does goes far beyond the realms of journalism in any sense. Wintour actively critiques and shapes the collections of established design houses before they’re completed; she hooks Thakoon, a young designer she likes, up with a career-making gig because she can; she runs interference on behalf of stores like Neiman Marcus when they need items that are actually wearable, not just hyper-stylish. It seems like a closed and terribly small bubble, until you realize that outside the camera’s gaze is a whole world that will feel the impact of the decisions being made by such a select group of people, by, often, just one woman, even if it’s only in what everyone chooses to wear.

“The September Issue” currently has no U.S. distribution. See all of’s Sundance coverage here.

[Photo: “The September Issue,” A&E IndieFilms, 2009]

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Give Back

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.


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…


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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