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Exclusive Online Premiere: “Altamont Now”

Exclusive Online Premiere: “Altamont Now” (photo)

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After winning prizes and praise at underground Film Festivals in Arizona, Atlanta and Denver, Joshua von Brown’s “Altamont Now” is surfacing on DVD this Tuesday (you can order a copy here). To celebrate the occasion, Factory 25 has been gracious enough to stream the entire film on all week.

The film is a discovery in more ways than one — it claims to be a lost film that von Brown took from the clutches of a fellow filmmaker who documented a power-mad radical rocker named Richard Havoc leading a clueless band of revolutionaries (who call themselves the Cult of the Kids) to a missile silo. There, they dictate a new world order to America over their local public access channel and threaten to set off a nuclear device.

In reality, von Brown adapted David Bucci’s play without ever seeing it staged, but really did find an abandoned silo to shoot the satire in, giving “Altamont Now” an authenticity as it sends up hipsters short on smarts, but high on entitlement. With his film hits homes everywhere, von Brown answered a few questions via email about why he was attracted to “Altamont Now,” how one goes about finding a military silo to film in and the film festival that freaked out John Waters. Check out the film below, and read our interview after the jump:

[Update: Sorry! The online preview of the film is now over.]

07262010_AltamontNow2.jpgIf you never saw the play, how did you stumble onto David Bucci’s play and why did you want to turn it into a feature?

Oddly enough, Bucci’s original staged play of “Altamont Now” starred Todd Lowe (Terry from “True Blood” and Zack from “Gilmore Girls”) as indie rock star Richard Havoc. But I never saw it — I couldn’t afford to travel down to Austin. Bucci was a friend and I was a huge fan of his work, so he let me read the play even before it was produced. It was one of the most unique pieces of work I’d ever read. The full title was “Altamont Now: An Exploitation Film for the Stage,” so there was an obvious deep connection to film.

What attracted you to the era being depicted?

I have a ton of love for 1960s Youthsploitation culture (as seen in movies like “Wild in the Streets” and “Riot on the Sunset Strip”). It’s hard to imagine in our era of Pitchfork reviews and overly savvy indie rock blogs that young musicians were once earnestly concerned with starting what they thought was an actual revolution against society. How charming! But “Altamont Now” satirizes indie rock kids who don’t realize how much of their rebellion is repeating this cultural moment over and over again (and is often sold back to them by large corporations).

There’s a sitcom within the film and several of the music scenes are shot like music videos. Was part of the appeal being able to shoot in a variety of different styles?

So many of the elements in Bucci’s play appealed to me as ripe for satire: indie rock stars who are obsessed with taxes, energy drinks, overuse of the word “whitey” by white people. But in adapting the play into a film, we added even more elements to further hone the themes.

07262010_AltamontNow4.jpgFor example, the sitcom “Why’s Daddy Actin’ Funny?”– a fake 1980s sitcom which is like a reverse “Diff’rent Strokes” (a well-to-do African American family adopts a cute little white girl). The sitcom highlights the racial undertones of The Cult of the Kids’ so-called revolution: their language of rebellion is pulled directly from Black Panthers and blaxploitation movies (and ridiculously so). It was really fun to throw all sorts of crazy things into the cinematic stew — we were all totally laughing while shooting, but honestly, I had no idea how the film would turn out until we put the entire cut together in editing.

How hard was this to put together, in regards to the archival clips you use and missile silo where the film is shot?

Putting this film together was… hard! Yeah, what optimistic and naive person decides to set their first feature — totally no-budget — inside an abandoned nuclear missile silo? Producer Lauren Eskelin and I did a ton of research looking for something suitable, and we had multiple leads fall through. Only when our intern Jennifer came across “Siloboy” in a last-ditch Google search where our prayers answered: an actual Atlas-F nuclear missile silo restored to its former glory by a wonderful Australian architect (thankfully restored without the missile).

But then, once we secured this missile silo to shoot in… it was cold. And damp. And dark. And… exactly what you’d imagine filming multiple stories underground for days on end is like. Everybody working on the film was so nice to roll with it though, we had a great team. Maybe it was a novelty.

The archival clips, on the other hand, were easier. They are mostly military and FBI training films from the 1950s-’60s (I’d like to give a shout-out to the U.S. government.)

07262010_AltamontNow3.jpgDid you have a favorite experience on the festival circuit?

The B-movie Underground Trash Film Festival of the Netherlands (BUTFF!) is amazing, more people should know about it. The scene is the real underground of Europe, lots of interesting people whom you don’t normally see at film festivals (think less Twitterers, more squatters). We screened the film there last year, and John Waters was the special guest of the festival.

One night, all the attendees and filmmakers, including Waters, gathered to drink beer and watch a live performance from a group from Berlin called Aesthetic Meat Front, which consisted of industrial music, extreme body mutilation, hanging from hooks and smearing cow’s blood on the audience. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that maybe, just maybe, John Waters — the visionary who got Divine to eat dog crap on camera– was a little freaked out! (Personally, I was clearly freaked out and cowering in the corner.)

Now that the DVD is coming out, what does it feel like to reach the end of a certain period in your life with this?

It feels awful and sad! Why did you remind me? Actually, I am super excited to get “Altamont Now” out to the general public. I want everyone to see it. Please show it to your grandmother! And if she likes it, maybe she’ll buy me a nice sandwich?


Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


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…