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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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.