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The What’s New & Next Photo Journey: A look back at the winners of the John Cassavetes Award

The What’s New & Next Photo Journey: A look back at the winners of the John Cassavetes Award (photo)

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John Cassavetes, an accomplished actor, director and screenwriter, is considered by many to be the spiritual father of American independent filmmaking. At a time when Hollywood was pre-occupied with the notion of the impressionist director, Cassavetes went in the opposite direction and created films that felt closer to real life in both style and execution.

Cassavetes’ approach to performance, both his own and the actors under his direction gave the impression of improvisation due to its spontaneous appearance. When serving as the director, Cassavetes favored hand-held shooting and general lighting so that his actors could move more freely and perform on screen in a manner that was more genuine than something perfectly rehearsed. As a producer, Cassavetes went to great lengths to preserve the integrity of his original vision, even mortgaging his own home to finance his films rather than risk interference from any investors.

In 2000, 11 years after John Cassavetes passed away, Film Independent introduced an award named after the filmmaker which is given to a movie made for a budget under $500,000 and that mirrors the principals that Cassavetes’ work embodies.

The films that have won the John Cassavetes Award embrace new approaches to film making and at the same time elevate story telling to the next level. From the unconventional narrative built around “fictionally found” video camera footage in “The Blair Witch Project,” to the improvisational comedy of two straight men trying to make an amateur gay erotic film in “Humpday,” the core values of John Cassavetes’ approach to the medium remain alive and well.

As the Spirit Awards begins a new decade of honoring the filmmakers that continue to pioneer new avenues with limited resources, join us for a look back at the 11 films that have achieved this honor.

[Click the thumbnails to see the images full size.]





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…


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.