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Rooftop Films’ 2011 Summer Lineup and Schedule

Rooftop Films’ 2011 Summer Lineup and Schedule (photo)

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It’s pretty embarrassing that I live in New York City and haven’t been to a Rooftop Films event yet, since their whole thing is showing awesome indie movies — many of them New York premieres — in awesome outdoor venues (in my defense, I’m incredibly lazy). I met the guys who founded and run Rooftop at South by Southwest this year, and they’re smart, passionate, and cool. They even funnel one dollar from every ticket sold to Rooftop screenings to a grant they dispense to filmmakers they like in order to help them fund future projects (SXSW selection “The City Dark,” for example, was made with Rooftop funds).

For their fifteenth summer film series, Rooftop’s pulled out all the stops. Highlights include the NYC premieres of Fantastic Fest favorite “Sound of Noise” (with a live performance by the film’s “musical terrorists” [!!!]) and “Bellflower,” one of my favorite films of the year so far, on the lawn of Automotive High School (in honor of the film’s insane homemade muscle car, Medusa). Here’s the announced schedule so far; there are a few more events not listed here that are still location and date TBD.


Friday, May 13

Opening Night: This is What We Mean by Short Films


Rooftop opens our 15th festival with a flash of creativity, a splatter of inspiration, and short epic stories that could save your life.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)



Saturday, May 14

”Freeloader”

(Zachary Raines | New York | World Premiere)

It’s not easy being heart-broken, down on your luck, and out on your own in New York City — particularly when you’re a Grade A jerk. Rooftop presents the World Premiere of this insightful black comedy.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Thursday, May 19
“
Sound of Noise”

(Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stfarne Nillsson | Sweden | NY Premiere)

A clever and maniacally entertaining Swedish comedy about a group of “musical terrorists” who break into hospitals, banks, and other public places to play compositions using the surroundings as their instruments. The screening will feature a special live performance by the musicians from the film.
Venue: On the pier at Solar One, (23rd St. and the East River, Manhattan)



Friday, May 20
Dark ‘Toons (Short Films)


Our popular annual program of enjoyably evil animation.
Venue: On the pier at Solar One, (23rd St. and the East River, Manhattan)



Thursday, May 26
No Way Out (Short Films)


These fun and frantic short films–comedy, animation, music videos — tell the twisted tales of terrified souls trapped inside the machine.
Venue: TBA



Friday, May 27

The Pursuit of Love (Short Films)


Short romantic films about chasing love, by bicycle and bottle, on the internet and in the air.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Saturday, May 28
“Bad Posture”

(Malcolm Murray | Brooklyn, NY | US Premiere)

A nuanced, visually inventive vista of young life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “Bad Posture” follows Flo as he seeks to make amends — and make a connection — with Marisa, a beautiful girl whose car his best friend has stolen.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Friday, June 10
New York Non-Fiction

It’s Your City. Take a Look.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Saturday, June 11
“Green”

(Sophia Takal | Brooklyn, NY | Sneak Preview)

An eerily compelling sexual thriller from writer-director Sophia Takal, “Green” focuses on a young literary couple who encounter an alluring country bumpkin during their weekend getaway.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Saturday, June 18
“The Catechism Cataclysm”

(Todd Rohal | Brooklyn, NY | Part of BAM Cinemafest)

Rooftop alum Rohal’s madcap story about Father William Smoortser, who drops his bible into a toilet at a rest stop just before embarking on a day-long canoe trip, breaking loose all glorious hell.
Venue: Outdoor parking lot at BAM Cinematek



Sunday, June 19
“The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez”

(Mikel Cee Karlsson and Fredrik Egerstrand | Sweden | NY Premiere)


Shot over a three year period in José González’s studio, at home and on tour, using a combination of video diary, surveillance camera, tour footage and animation, filmmakers Mikel Cee Karlsson and Fredrik Egerstrand provide a look into the life of one of Sweden’s most interesting artists.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Friday, June 24
“Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same”

(Madeline Olnek | New York, NY | NY Premiere)


Premiering on Gay Pride weekend, this playful send-up of 1950’s sci-fi follows a group of lesbian extraterrestrials banished to Earth because their feelings of love cloud up the atmosphere on their home planet.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)



Saturday, June 25
“The Redemption of General Butt Naked”

(Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion | Washington, DC)

Joshua Milton Blahyi (aka General Butt Naked) is a Liberian warlord turned evangelical minister in this stirring verité documentary about the nature of justice and absolution.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand Street, LES)

Friday, July 1
Northside DIY Film Competition Winner

Rooftop partners with Brooklyn’s Northside Festival to present a special outdoor screening of Northside’s first annual DIY Film Competition winner.
Venue: On the lawn in front of Automotive High School (Bedford Ave. and N. 13th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Saturday, July 2
“Where Soldiers Come From”

(Heather Courtney | Austin, TX)

On the weekend that we celebrate those who fought the first battle for our country’s freedom, Rooftop takes you on a four year journey from a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, following childhood friends forever changed by a faraway war.
Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Friday, July 15
“Bellflower”

(Evan Glodel | New York, NY | NY Premiere)

An apocalyptic love story for the Mad Max generation, Evan Glodell’s impressive feature debut paints a classic, yet urgently contemporary, tale of the destructive power of love.
Venue: On the lawn in front of Automotive High School (Bedford Ave. and N. 13th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Saturday, July 17
Creation, Construction, “Convento” (Short Films) 


Artists fashion a madcap dance between nature and machine, between past and future, between the living and the dead, featuring robo-animal sculpture installations by Christiaan Zwanikken of “Convento.”
Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Thursday, July 21
Hope and Heartbreak (Short Films)

Lonely romantics lost in limbo, in a program of comedies, dramas, documentaries and more about the brilliant anguish of new love and the bittersweet taste of love lost.
Venue: On the lawn in front of Automotive High School (Bedford Ave. and N. 13th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Saturday, July 23
“Orbit” (Film)


A collaborative, feature-length omnibus movie about our solar system where every planet is represented by a short film. Co-produced by Rooftop Films and Cinemad.
Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Friday, July 29
Animation Block Party 


Some call it punk rock, some call it grass roots, but labels aside, NYC-based Animation Block Party is dedicated to exhibiting the world’s best independent, professional and student animation.
Venue: On the lawn in front of Automotive High School (Bedford Ave. and N. 13th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Saturday, July 30
Kill Screen Video Game Night


Rooftop partners with the avante garde video game magazine Kill Screen to bring you an evening of short films that ask the question, “What does it mean to play games?”
Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Thursday, August 4

Rooftop Films and IFC present
DANGEROUS DOCS AND WHISKER WARS (Short Films)


Female Mexican professional wrestlers!  Canadians assaulting rock stars in 7-Eleven! Moped gang wars in Virginia! It is time for some Dangerous Docs, PLUS a special sneak preview of “Whisker Wars,” the new docu-comedy from IFC about professional beard-growers!
Venue: Outdoors at the Crown Vic (South 2nd and Wythe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Sunday, August 7
Rural Route


A program of film offering city dwellers a glimpse of the rural life, where the grass is indeed greener. This program will be fittingly screened on a brand new Rooftop Venue: The Brooklyn Grange, an organic rooftop farm in Long Island City, Queens.
Venue: On the roof of the Brooklyn Grange (37-18 Northern Blvd, LIC, Queens)

Wednesday, August 10
“At the Edge of Russia”

(Michal Marczak | Poland)

Bizarre rituals help soldiers develop powerful bonds amidst the tense existence of one of the Russian army’s last existing frozen outposts.
Venue: On the grass along the water at Socrates Sculpture Park (3134 Vernon Boulevard, LIC, Queens)

Friday, August 12
Public Places, Private Spaces

An intricate exploration of the emotions that fill the places we inhabit.

Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Saturday, August 20
Rooftop Shots


Closing Night! Short films fired from the roof one last time, with fiction, documentary, comedy and animations so sharp we call them shots.
Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn)

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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…

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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.

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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