A “Natural Selection” for This Year’s SXSW Biggest Award Winner

A “Natural Selection” for This Year’s SXSW Biggest Award Winner (photo)

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“Natural Selection,” an unusual road trip comedy about a woman who fulfills her dying husband’s wish to find his long estranged son, was the clear winner at this year’s SXSW Film Awards, where it picked up both the Grand Jury Prize for best narrative feature and audience award, in addition to four other awards for breakthrough performances (Rachael Harris and Matt O’ Leary), best editing and best score. The narrative features jury was led by Roger Ebert, New York magazine’s Logan Hill and Sundance Institute’s Michelle Satter. Evan Ross, awarded for breakthrough performance for his turn in the thriller “96 Minutes,” and “A Year in Mooring” cinematographer Elliot Davis were the only ones honored to keep “Natural Selection” from a clean sweep.

In the documentary category, Tristan Patterson’s coming-of-age documentary “Dragonslayer” took home the top prize and a nod for best cinematography (Eric Koretz) while the more controversial “Kumaré,” about a filmmaker who presents himself as an Eastern guru to conduct an experiment with unsuspecting believers, won the audience award. The full list of winners (and links to see if you can still see them in Austin) is below.

Documentary Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: “Dragonslayer”
Director: Tristan Patterson

Best Editing: “Where Soldiers Come From”
Editors: Kyle Henry & Heather Courtney

Best Cinematography: “Dragonslayer”
Director of Photography: Eric Koretz

Best Score/Music: “The City Dark”
Music by: The Fishermen Three, Ben Fries

Narrative Feature Competition

Grand Jury Winner: “Natural Selection”
Director: Robbie Pickering

Breakthrough Performances:
Evan Ross – “96 Minutes”
Rachael Harris – “Natural Selection”
Matt O’Leary – “Natural Selection”

Best Screenplay: “Natural Selection”
Writer: Robbie Pickering

Best Editing: “Natural Selection”
Editor: Michelle Tesoro

Best Cinematography: “A Year in Mooring”
Director of Photography: Elliot Davis

Best Score/Music: “Natural Selection”
Music by: iZLER, Curt Schneider

Feature Film Audience Awards

Documentary Feature
Winner: “Kumaré”
Director: Vikram Gandhi

Narrative Feature
Winner: “Natural Selection”
Director: Robbie Pickering

Spotlight Premieres
Winner: “Becoming Santa”
Director: Jeff Myers

Emerging Visions
Winner: “Weekend”
Director: Andrew Haigh

Short Film Jury Awards

Narrative Shorts
Winner: “Pioneer”
Director: David Lowery

Documentary Shorts
Winner: “Mothersbane”
Director: Jason Jakaitis

Animated Shorts
Winner: “The Wonder Hospital”
Director: Beomsik Shimbe Shim

Music Videos
Winner: Hollerado, “Americanarama”
Director: Greg Jardin

Texas Shorts
Winner: “8”
Director: Julie Gould & Daniel Laabs

Texas High School Shorts
Winner: “( __ )”
Director: Chad Werner

SXSW Film Design Awards

Excellence in Poster Design
Winner: “Silver Bullets”
Designer: Yann Legendre

Audience Award Winner: “Green”
Designer: Adrian Kolarczyk

Excellence in Title Design
Winner: “Blue Valentine”
Designer: Jim Helton

Audience Award Winner: “Blue Valentine”
Designer: Jim Helton

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW Wholphin Award
Winner: “The Eagleman Stag”
Director: Mikey Please

SXSW Chicken & Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award
Winner: Sophia Takal for “Green”

Louis Black Lone Star Award
Winner: “INCENDIARY: The Willingham Case”
Directors: Steve Mims & Joe Bailey, Jr.

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
Presented to: Erin Casper


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.