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“Another Earth” star and co-writer Brit Marling talks how life has changed since Sundance

“Another Earth” star and co-writer Brit Marling talks how life has changed since Sundance (photo)

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Seemingly overnight at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Brit Marling went from relatively unknown documentary writer to the newest critically acclaimed indie darling. Marling both starred in and co-wrote two of the most well-received films at Sundance: “Sound of my Voice” and “Another Earth,” which won the Special Jury Prize. The latter went on to have a limited theatrical run in July and debuted on DVD this week.

In the 10 months that have passed since Sundance, life has changed pretty significantly for Marling. She has reteamed with her “Sound of my Voice” director and fellow Georgetown University alum Zal Batmanglij for the upcoming film “The East,” which Marling again co-wrote and stars in. In addition, she has been brought on board her biggest production to date in Robert Redford’s thriller “The Company You Keep,” due out in 2012. All while still continuing to work and develop new projects, of course.

IFC had the chance to catch up with Marling on the phone over the Thanksgiving weekend to talk about how life has changed for her since she became an overnight sensation. Turns out, it hasn’t changed too much.

IFC: It’s been four months since we last spoke to you. How has your life changed since “Another Earth” hit theaters?

Brit Marling: It’s been beautiful. It’s been really cool to see the film enter the world and just see the audience’s response to it. On a person to person level, at festivals and theaters and even just randomly, the tweets that [“Another Earth” director] Mike [Cahill] will sometimes show me about people, people from all over writing various reflections on the film and that’s really cool.

I think when you make a movie, I don’t know, you hope that it connects, that it moves people, but you certainly have no idea even when you’ve edited it, and when you watch it, you’re so close to it, it’s hard to know how an audience will respond. It’s been really beautiful to see the audience’s response to it. It’s been more than I ever would have anticipated and I think Mike would say the same. It’s been a very good time.

IFC: You kind of exploded onto the scene earlier this year with “Another Earth” and “Sound of my Voice” coming out at Sundance. How have you stayed grounded?

BM: You know, it’s an interesting question. I’ve really been working so much and I’m working on this movie Zal and I wrote called “The East,” and Mike is actually here, he’s directing some of these little vignettes in the film that he’s directing, and so all three of us are sort of reunited, working together on this project of which has been awesome.

I think, I don’t know. I think the fundamentals never change, is the problem and also a great thing, which is at the end of the day you’re still just trying to get good at telling stories. And from an acting perspective, you’re trying to get better at being a better custodian and vessel for them, and not being phony and being honest and not defaulting on cliché emotions but trying to figure out what’s true or what actually happened. That never gets any easier. I think that’s the thing I find daunting about acting is, I don’t know what it’s like with other professions, but usually I think there’s like a learning curve in which like your job becomes easier for you, and I’ve never felt that with acting.

It astounds me that every day I go to work on ‘The East’ and it’s almost like I’ve never worked before. You have no idea what will happen, what will come up. You’re really tapping all of your subconscious, and there’s something wildly liberating about it but also terrifying, and so it’s awesome that the movies have been really well received and that we’re getting a chance to make more movies but I think the challenge is always the same. Nobody gets too lost in any of their thinking about it, I think.

IFC: You mentioned how it never gets easier with acting, but do you think part of it is you keep pushing yourself with the scripts that you help write to see just what you can do?

BM: Oh my gosh, what a great thing to say. Wow. I think that’s so true. I guess I’m usually attracted to the thing that terrifies me. That’s one of the things that’s cool about writing.

I think one of the things that happens with all actors, and certainly with young actresses, is that they sort of get put in a certain place, like there’s only a certain type of story for the ingénue and usually it’s like the romantic comedy ingénue or the love interest in an action movie but she’s never the action hero.

There’s something about writing that sort of I think lets you a little bit push yourself in the direction that you’re more afraid to go and certainly in this movie, oh my gosh, it happens all over the place. I constantly feel like I’m biting off a lot more than I can possibly chew, but I love that feeling. I think that’s why I’m so attracted to this work because I always feel out of my depth. So hopefully I’ll keep putting myself there and seeing if I can attempt to rise to the occasion.

Are you interested to see what other types of projects Marling creates for herself in the future? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

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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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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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