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Highlights from Another Hot Fest: Sarasota

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By Lily Oei/IFC News

Seven years in, the Sarasota Film Festival, which ran from January 28 through February 6, proves that even a regional festival will have something to help you scratch any cinematic itch.

The fest is still establishing itself among industryites (although
several made the trip directly from Park City), but already has the
complete devotion of local townfolk, particularly at the many gala
functions (really, these kids like to dress up). Here are some highlights from the week:


“Sandman” and fantasy geeks rejoice. Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean continue their 20-year partnership with their first feature effort. In it, a rebellious teen makes a wish and gets exactly what she asks for—to
her dismay. Think “Alice in Wonderland” meets “Time Bandits” on an
upside down street in a parallel universe, with special f/x courtesy of
the wizards at Henson.


Winner of the audience documentary prize at Sundance, this film is a look at the competitive world of quadriplegic rugby, aka the eponymous murderball. While “Murderball” is pegged around the international rivalry between Canadian coach Joe Soares and U.S. captain Mark Zupan, the documentary also delves into the individual lives of players, laying out their stories without being
even a touch treacly. Based on co-director Dana Adam Shapiro’s magazine
story back in 2002, it’s proof that something good can come from a Maxim

“Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story”

A mockumentary by Brant Sersen featuring the Daily Show’s Rob Corddry
and a number of other familiar comic faces. It’s a classic story of redemption—caught cheating and banned from the sport, former paintball great Bobby Dukes returns to the sport to reclaim his reputation. About
90 percent of the script was improvised, but it never feels like it. As they say in
the movie, you’ll come out feeling “bobbicized” and “dukealated.”


A good old-fashioned chop-socky from Thailand, complete with a “high
speed” race in tuk tuks and a chase scene that not only includes the
perquisite sheets of glass to slow down the titular hero, but also
boiling oil and a wreath of barbed wire. The film stars the unflappable
Tony Jaa, who does all his own stunts without the help of wires. But don’t just take my word for it, Wu Tang Clan member Rza has also thrown his weight behind the film.

New Music

The local Florida West Coast Symphony always gets involved with the
festival, but for the more progressive, this year’s schedule included
the Independent Visions concert series. On the slate, Boulder’s
Devotchka with its Eastern bloc-mariachi rock, a solo-ing Bob Mould, and
the always rousing Ted Leo + the Pharmacists. Whether it was faulty
promotion or shyness on the part of the natives, the Mould and Ted Leo
shows were undersold—probably the only time you’ll experience such
intimacy at any of their performances.

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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.


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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