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Fall Indie Film Preview

Fall Indie Film Preview (photo)

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October 9th

An Education

“An Education”

The Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Cara Seymour, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Williams
Director: Lone Scherfig
Fest Cred: Sundance, Berlinale, Sydney
The Gist: Already tipped to be an awards season darling, “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself” director Scherfig and “High Fidelity” author Hornby’s adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir of growing up in 1960s London stars Carey Mulligan as a middle-class teen who abandons plans to attend Oxford when she falls for an older man (Sarsgaard) who promises her much more, but may not be all that he appears. However, audiences at Sundance decided “An Education” was the real deal, bestowing an Audience Award to the film.

“Araya”
Director: Margot Benacerraf
The Gist: Venenzuelan female filmmaker Benacerraf’s 1959 classic will receive its first stateside release nearly a half-century after sharing the Cannes International Critics Prize with “Hiroshima, Mon Amor,” courtesy of a Milestone Films restoration. The film centers on three families who live in the Araya Peninsula and work hard to make ends meet as their community suffers from growing industrialization.

“Bronson”
The Cast: Tom Hardy, Matt King, Kelly Adams, Katy Barker
Writer/Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Fest Cred: Sundance, Glasgow, Seattle, Los Angeles, Karlovy Vary
The Gist: “The Pusher Trilogy” director Winding Refn constrains his considerable skill for manic action to only one film this time around, but spares no energy in bringing the life story of England’s most terrifying prisoner Charles Bronson (a.k.a. Mickey Peterson), who spent 30 years of his 34-year sentence in solitary confinement. However, audiences and critics haven’t complained about spending time with him as played by “Layer Cake” star Tom Hardy, who added on 42 pounds for the part.

“Disengagement”
The Cast: Juliette Binoche, Liron Levo, Jeanne Moreau, Barbara Hendricks, Hiam Abbass
Director: Amos Gitai
Fest Cred: Venice, Toronto
The Gist: Juliette Binoche stars as a woman whose father’s recent death leads her to travel to Israel with her stepbrother in search of her daughter who she gave up for adoption two decades earlier, only to get tangled in the dangerous Israeli disengagement of 2005 when they attempt to travel to Gaza.

“From Mexico With Love”
The Cast: Kuno Becker, Bruce McGill, Steven Bauer, Angélica Aragón
Director: Jimmy Nickerson
Fest Cred: San Diego Latino
The Gist: A veteran stunt coordinator on such films as “Fight Club” and “Rocky,” Nickerson turns his attention to a drama that stars Becker as a migrant worker who learns he can make the big bucks in boxing and gets taken under the wing of an old-time trainer (McGill), who becomes weary when a promoter (Bauer) comes calling with a big payday.

“Good Hair”
Director: Jeff Stilson
Fest Cred: Sundance
The Gist: At the request of one of his daughters, Chris Rock gets to the roots of African-American hair, interviewing everyone from Maya Angelou to Al Sharpton to Ice-T about their own follicles and opinions about relaxers, weaves and natural curls. The doc spans from Atlanta, with its annual hair-care convention, to India, where women’s shorn hair can make a mint as future extensions overseas.

“Night of the Demons”
The Cast: Edward Furlong, Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena, Diora Baird, Bobbi Sue Luther, John F. Beach
Director: Adam Gierasch
Fest Cred: Film4 FrightFest
The Gist: Remade from the 1988 gorefest, “Autopsy” director Gierasch gives Elizabeth, Keena and Baird plenty to scream about by placing them in a haunted New Orleans mansion where they’ve come to party, only to discover after the cops have come and gone that their locked in with ancient demons.

“Trucker”
The Cast: Michelle Monaghan, Joey Lauren Adams, Jimmy Bennett, Benjamin Bratt, Nathan Fillion, Mika Boorem
Writer/Director: James Mottern
Fest Cred: Tribeca, Vail, Austin
The Gist: After premiering at Tribeca ’08, Mottern’s directorial debut will come to a screen near you, featuring a sharp performance from star Monaghan as a single mom who is forced (somewhat) to change her hard living ways when a son she gave up long ago reappears in her life after her ex’s (Bratt) health starts to fail.

“Whip It”
The Cast: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Zoe Bell, Ari Graynor, Eve
Director: Drew Barrymore
The Gist: For a well-regarded screenplay that made the 2007 Black List (the industry’s tally of best unproduced scripts in any given year), Barrymore finally steps up to the director’s chair to helm this comedy starring Page as a beauty pageant contestant in a small Texas town who finds real joy in taking down competitors as part of a female roller derby team, much to the dismay of her mother (Harden). Eve, Wiig, “Death Proof” star Bell and Barrymore herself join Page on the track.

“The Yes Men Fix the World”
Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr
Fest Cred: Sundance, Berlinale, Buenos Aires, Hot Docs, Seattle
The Gist: A sequel of sorts to Chris Smith’s 2003 doc on the mischievous corporate anarchist duo, Bichlbaum and Bonanno (with the help of Engfehr) take matters into their own hands this time around, filming themselves in what’s best described as a “screwball comedy about the end of the world,” pulling pranks like posing as Dow Chemical spokespeople who accept full responsibility for the Bhopal Catastrophe on BBC Television (bringing down the company’s stock price) or printing an issue of the New York Times with only good news.

Continue to October 16th »

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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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