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DID YOU READ

The Sarasota Film Festival: Sun, Fun, and Herzog

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By Mark Rabinowitz

IFC News

I just got back from the 2006 Sarasota Film Festival and boy is my liver tired!

I tell you, when they invite you to a festival, they never tell you that you might end up at 5am drinking and smoking in a hotel a room full of gay, lesbian and transgendered MCs and filmmakers! Four days and not once did I get out of the room early enough for the maid to tidy up — I’d like to extend a personal apology to whoever had to clean my room…I left you an extra large tip. But lest you think the fest is just one, long party…

When my friend Tom Hall took over as programmer of SFF two years ago, I knew the fest and the city were in for something special. If there’s anyone who could take a small on-again, off-again festival and bump it up a few notches, programming-wise, it’s Tom. To paraphrase the Bard, I don’t mean to bury the pre-Hall fest as much as I mean to praise the current incarnation — executive director Jody Kielbasa, Hall and the active members of the executive board have worked tirelessly to raise the festival to its current level. It’s even more amazing when one is reminded that only two years ago, SFF’s jury refused to award a prize to any of the competition films, opting instead to seed a fund for emerging Florida filmmakers.

By way of introduction, let me point out that I am a festival addict, having been to 80-some events in the past 13 years. I seen festivals so badly organized and programmed that my colleagues and I decided not to write about them at all in order to give the event a chance to grow, and I have been to festivals so fantastic that I intend to be a lifelong attendee. While I won’t go so far as to firmly place Sarasota in the latter category, it’s certainly in the running for hall of fame status and I’m putting the organizers on note that next year I am going down for the duration!

The city of Sarasota is small (I mean small — I was sleeping in my hotel when my airport driver called and woke me up at 9:52am, and by 10:16am I had checked in my bag at the airport), but is a haven for the arts, both performing and visual. I’ve never attended a festival with the level of community support shown to the SFF — not only in audience attendance but also in cold, hard cashish. The fest board and community is forthcoming in helping the organization meet its financial goals, which allows the festival to throw a few lavish parties and to charge relatively low prices for them. For example, $60 got attendees a raucous six-plus hour street party with several bars and dozens of food stations serving the best that Sarasota restaurants (another high point of this Gulf Coast locale) had to offer, in addition to a fantastic Latin band and a demonstration of Polynesian and Hawaiian dancing in authentic costumes. And on top of all this, they had Werner Herzog receiving his World Cinema Master award.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a playground for rich film snobs. The SFF has its financial problems, just like almost any other not-for-profit arts endeavor in the US, but it’s nice to see some of our wealthier citizens put their money where their…you know.

Oh…you want to hear about some films? How about the Florida premiere of Cristi Puiu’s festival circuit hit “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” (Tartan Films) or the East Coast premiere of Michael Cuesta’s “Twelve and Holding” and John Hyams’ “Rank” (both IFC Films), the East Coast premiere of Michael Tully’s well-received (and Florida-shot) “Cocaine Angel” and Rotterdam Golden Tiger winner (and SFF 2006 Narrative Feature Competition Award winner) “Old Joy” by Kelly Reichardt? Not enough? How about a retrospective of 14 of Werner Herzog’s non-fiction films, including some rarely seen medium-length docs, and the chance to chat with the maestro? Ever gracious, Herzog took time out during the two speeches I heard to make sure the audience thanked the festival staff and volunteers, pointing out all the hard work that goes into making events like the SFF come off. Nice guy.

All in all, Sarasota knows how to put on a great show, for filmmakers, audience and industry, alike. The climate is perfect, the locals friendly and appreciative of both arthouse cinema and mini-major releases and there’s enough going on that boredom is not going to be a problem. Hangovers, fatigue and sore feet from dancing, maybe, but never boredom. Bring on 2007!

2006 Narrative Feature Competition Award: “Old Joy,” directed by Kelly Reichardt, and starring Daniel London and Will Oldham.

Special Jury Prize: “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” directed by Cristi Puiu, and starring Ion Fiscteanu and Luminita Gheorghiu.

2006 Documentary Feature Competition Award: “Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, OR,” directed by Peter Richardson.

Special Jury Prize: “Black Sun,” directed by Gary Tarn.

The 2006 Independent Visions Competition Award: “Find Love,” directed by Erica Dunton.

Special Jury Prize for Screenwriting: “Somebodies,” written and directed by Hadjii.

Special Jury Prize for Originality: “Wild Tigers I Have Known,” directed by Cam Archer.

2006 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: “Neo Ned,” director Van Fischer.

2006 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: “Abel Raises Cain,” directors Jennifer Abel and Jeff Hockett.

2006 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best In World Cinema: “Lady Vengeance,” director Chan-Wook Park.

2006 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film: “Dammi Il La,” director Matteo Servente.

IFC_Portlandia-S8_best-of-skits_subaru-blog

Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

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…