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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


(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

(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

(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

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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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…


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.


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).


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.


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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GIFs via Giphy

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.


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.



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 and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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