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Adapt This: “An Elegy For Amelia Johnson”

an elegy for amelia johnson

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: An Elegy For Amelia Johnson by Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza, and Kate Kasenow (Archaia Entertainment)

The Premise: Two people embark on a cross-country trek as a last request for their dying friend, delivering messages to various people who meant something to her during her life. As the two strangers journey from one destination to the next, they learn more than they ever expected to about their friend, and each other — and begin to suspect the real reasons they’re each making the trip.

The Pitch: Equal parts cross-country travelogue and compelling drama about seeing your life through the eyes of others, An Elegy For Amelia Johnson is the sort of awards-friendly story that inspires its audience and wins over critics. In the hands of a capable screenwriter who can bring the story from page to screen, there’s a lot of potential for a film that’s more than just a tear-jerking farewell to the main characters’ cancer-stricken friend — there’s a story here about two people who couldn’t be more different, thrown together for an unfortunate reason, who learn as much about themselves during the journey as they do about their friend.

A movie based on Amelia Johnson would give a pair of talented lead actors lots of room to explore the full spectrum of emotions, and there’s ample opportunity for the supporting cast to shine, too. Of the two main characters, one is a successful filmmaker who brings along his crew to film their cross-country mission, so there’s a nice chance to develop those characters a little more than they were in the book.

And despite the serious nature of the story, there’s actually quite a bit of flexibility in how a potential adaptation could be played, too. It’s easy to envision an Amelia Johnson adaptation with a quirky, Wes Anderson-style approach to their journey, peppering the pathos with humor, or it could just as easily be a straight-up, serious drama about the nature of life and love.

Given the movie-within-a-movie storyline of An Elegy For Amelia Johnson, the option is there to give the film a unique feel by using scenes from the road-trip film being developed by the main character as segues between chapters of the actual movie. In fact, there are many different ways a director could use the movie being created within the movie to set an Amelia Johnson adaptation apart from other films with a similar theme.

The Closing Argument: An Elegy For Amelia Johnson writer Andrew Rostan has done a wonderful job of mixing humor, sobering drama, and an optimistic exploration of life and death in this graphic novel, and the right combination of screenwriter and director should find a strong foundation for a great film here. The plot encourages its characters to change and evolve in a short amount of time, which is one of the key ingredients of a good film — and a good story in a any medium, really. All of that means that it shouldn’t be too difficult to bring the story to life on the screen, and with careful attention paid to how it gets there, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an adaptation of An Elegy For Amelia Johnson earn a few awards along the way.


Would “An Elegy For Amelia Johnson” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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…

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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