DID YOU READ

Exclusive Premiere: “Ghost of Old Highways”

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Ben Lovett doesn’t believe in taking it easy. But that’s not a surprise. Last year we wrote a profile of Lovett and his wildly ambitious project to make videos for each of the nine songs on his self-published album, Highway Collection.

Inspired by the reception of the songs, Lovett tapped into the Hollywood community of directors and cinematographers — a group he knows well from his work as a film composer — and embarked on his enterprising idea. Lovett collaborated with a cadre of talented directors to bring the idea to fruition. The collaboration resulted in a series of wildly different yet equally remarkable videos from “The Fear,” a heart swelling ode to the city of Atlanta, to “Eye of the Storm,” a densely atmospheric steampunk-inspired eyeful. Go watch them, we’ll wait.

Now comes Lovett’s most ambitious project to date. “Ghost of Old Highways” was meant to be the next video in the series, but instead of crafting a video for the song, inspiration took hold. The project went from a song to a script, from a script to a film, from film to a score and then from score back to a song. The result is a stunning short film crafted between Lovett, director Dan Bush, and a crew of ambitious, dedicated and determined volunteers willing to put up with extreme conditions for weeks in order to bring the film to light.

The project began as a conversation between Lovett and director Dan Bush (“The Signal”, Magnolia Pictures) about the meaning of the song. “It sounded like one man’s ride into a labyrinth of personal darkness and ultimately, a return from it,” said Bush. “The journey against one’s own demons, grief, and regret, like all real quests is often one as honest and brutal as it is mythic or heroic. “Ghost Of Old Highways” reminds me of that struggle in each of us.” The question of how to capture those heady emotions and distill them into a video was the challenge. You see they had no budget, but that didn’t stop them from dreaming big. Really big. Bush explained, “We wanted this to feel epic – wanted a grand scale – but we had no money and few resources. I knew if we had the right crew, kept sets to a minimum and made use of vast, remote landscapes – we could really immerse ourselves and the audience in a rich and timeless dreamscape to tell this story.”

So they set out to capture that ageless and eternal feel, despite the obstacles of little time and no money. The crew and the cast headed to the mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Each day they filmed, each night they hoofed it back to Asheville, the gear carried up and down the mountain by the volunteer crew. “This production was literally carried on the backs of each and every one of us,” said director of photography, Christopher Campbell, “There were no department lines, we all did everything – the producer and director, even Ben himself, carried gear up and down just like everyone else.”

While this labor of love started out as a video, it became much much more. The result of the effort is a visually stunning short film, “Ghost of Old Highways,” an eerie and unsettling, yet hauntingly beautiful tour de force. “I’ve never been a part of anything quite like it,” said the director, Bush. “We were truly the crew that went uphill to make a music video and came down the mountain with a movie.” While Lovett’s original four-minute song inspired the film, once the project evolved into a movie, Lovett created an entirely new 15-minute musical score for the film, bringing the project back full circle.

“Ghost Of Old Highways” has now screened in 20 cities, four countries, and won nine film festival awards in 2012 including Best Film, Best Score, and Best Cinematography and, most recently, a Best Soundtrack win at the Madrid International Film Festival.

We are thrilled to be able to share the film “Ghost of Old Highways” with you:

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
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Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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