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Fall Indie Film Preview

Fall Indie Film Preview (photo)

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Prepare to see stars in your local arthouse as the summer turns to fall. Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Drew Barrymore will all grace celluloid in the coming months. There are new films from star directors — Tarantino! Campion! Soderbergh! Coen brothers! Even the new documentaries are driven by stars — Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story,” LeBron James’ “More Than a Game” and Anna Wintour’s “The September Issue.” And then, as Matt Singer will tell you, there are breakout stars who you should start catching up with now. In between, there’s epic animation (“Ponyo” and “9”), an astounding array of asskicking (“Ong Bak 2” and “Black Dynamite”) and Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” proving there’s there’s just about something for everyone this fall at the multiplex. (And if not there, make sure to check out what films you can catch in the comfort of your own home on demand, online, and on DVD and at your local repertory theater.)

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August 7

Paper Heart

“Paper Heart”

The Cast: Charlyne Yi, Jake Johnson, Michael Cera
Director: Nicholas Jasenovec
Fest Cred: Sundance, Seattle, Los Angeles
The Gist: As hard as it is to define Yi’s unique brand of humor (which she deftly applied as the lone female in the “Knocked Up” animal house), it might be even harder to describe the romantic comedy in which she plays herself as a woman who doesn’t believe in love, featuring real woman-on-the-street interviews with successful couples while she starts a relationship with her (maybe) real-life boyfriend Michael Cera. The hybrid of woman-on-the street interviews, handmade dioramas and injections of narrative interludes earned Yi and co-writer/director Jasenovec the Waldo Salt screenwriting prize at this year’s Sundance.

The Cast: Maggie Hatcher, Tilly Hatcher, Alex Karpovsky, Katy O’Connor
Writer/Director: Andrew Bujalski
Fest Cred: Berlinale, SXSW, Buenos Aires
The Gist: “Mutual Appreciation” director Bujalski continues to make a personal travelogue of places he’s lived with this Austin-set story of twin sisters who find themselves simultaneously in a rut in their professional and personal lives.

The Cast: Talat Bulut, Özgü Namal, Murat Han, Mustafa Avkiran
Director: Abdullah Oguz
Fest Cred: Copenhagen, Vancouver, Cleveland
The Gist: Based on Zülfü Livaneli’s novel of the same name, this Turkish thriller stars Namal as a 17-year-old girl whose family approves an honor killing after fearing her chastity’s been taken and recruits a distant cousin to carry out the act during a long boat trip, only things get complicated when the cousin starts to have feelings for her.

“By the People: The Election of Barack Obama”
Directors: Amy Rice and Alicia Sams
The Gist: Rice and Sams started rolling their cameras on the then-Illinois senator in 2006 before he announced his candidacy for the presidency and subsequently got hundreds of hours of behind the scenes footage from the historic campaign. Bankrolled by Edward Norton, Sony and HBO are taking the doc out for a one-week awards qualifying run in Los Angeles before a full theatrical release later this fall.

“Cloud 9”
The Cast: Ursula Werner, Horst Rehberg, Horst Westphal
Director: Andreas Dresen
Fest Cred: Cannes, Munich, Karlovy Vary, Toronto, Berlinale
The Gist: Fitting alongside nicely with Paul Cox’s 2000 sexually charged septuagenarian romance “Innocence,” Dresen’s drama stars Werner as a 67-year-old clothier who finds her passion reignited during a torrid affair with an 76-year-old widower. The film arrives in America after winning a slew of awards abroad, beginning with its Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes in 2008 and German Film Awards for Werner as best actress and Dresen as best director.

“Cold Souls”
The Cast: Paul Giamatti, Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, David Strathairn, Katheryn Winnick, Lauren Ambrose
Writer/Director: Sophie Barthes
Fest Cred: Sundance, Cannes, Seattle, Los Angeles, Sydney
The Gist: Don’t call it a Charlie Kaufman movie, but Sophie Barthes’ feature directorial debut enters into some similar metaphysical territory with Giamatti starring as a self-important version of himself who discovers a doctor (Straithairn) that can remove and store souls for safe keeping.

“El Tinte De La Fama”
The Cast: Elaiza Gil, Alberto Alifa, Mirtha Borges, Miguel Ferrari
Director: Alejandro Bellame Palacios
The Gist: Last year’s Venezuelan Oscar entry is Palacios’ feature debut, a surrealist plunge into the intoxicating waters of stardom, following a blond beauty who’s egged on by husband to enter a televised Marilyn Monroe look-a-like contest. Her fragile psyche begins to fracture as events in her life begin to oddly mirror those of the real Monroe.

“I Sell the Dead”
The Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm
Writer/Director: Glenn McQuaid
Fest Cred: Sitges, Slamdance, Glasgow, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Seattle
The Gist: A throwback to the Hammer films of the ’60s that opened this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, this black comedy stars Fessenden and Monaghan as a pair of grave robbers whose adventures with shovels are chronicled shortly before they get the axe.

“12 in a Box”
The Cast: Brian Mitchell, Anjella Mackintosh, Kenneth Collard, Katy Wix, Paul Williamson, Clare Welch
Writer/Director: John McKenzie
Fest Cred: Berlinale, Boston, Zurich
The Gist: Though it’s advertised as a comedy, this British import might seem more like a terrifying version of “Big Brother” where a dozen former classmates reunite for a weekend in the country and are propositioned to stay 96 hours without leaving the premises in order to win a million pounds. Enough hijinks ensue to make the guests think about changing their friends on Facebook.

Continue to August 14th »

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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.


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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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.


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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