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What’s Up In November

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Chia-Liang Liu’s “Dirty Ho,” part of BAM’s series Heroic Grace II: Shaw Brothers Return]

AFI Fest

Nov. 1-12

Returning for its twentieth year, L.A.’s biggest and brightest film fest continues promoting domestic and international, mainstream and independent, feature-length and short, narrative and documentary and, well, pretty much all things cinema. This year’s highlights include the US premiere of Emilio Estevez’s directorial Oscar-run “Bobby,” the world premiere of Zhang Yimou’s glitzy “Curse of the Golden Flower” and a 24-hour movie marathon to support charity.

A Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger

Nov. 2

Director Peter Bogdonovich hosts this one-night celebration of influential filmmaker Otto Preminger’s 100th birthday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. A selection of film clips from Preminger’s films will be screened alongside a discussion with colleagues, family and friends, and the event kicks off a month-long retrospective that includes screenings of the great “Laura,” “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “Anatomy of a Murder.”

Chicago Filipino Film Festival

This film festival promotes, clearly) the work of Filipino filmmakers. The highlight of the festival will be Auraeus Solito’s Sundance favorite “The Blossoming of Maximos Oliveros,” which is this year’s Filipino candidate for Best Foreign Language Film.

New Czech Films

Nov. 3-5

The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents its yearly display of new films out of the Czech Republic. Safe bets include Jan Svankmajer’s “Lunacy” (love that stop-motion meat) and Ivan Trojan’s “Wrong Side Up.”

Machinima Festival

Nov. 4-5

What, you may ask, is Machinima? Where the hell have you been? Machinima is an art form that combines video game production, animation, and filmmaking to present a new style of storytelling — think “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” without the crushing disappointment. The Machinima Festival returns for its fourth year to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

Polish Film Festival in America

Nov. 4-19

One of the premiere film festivals to highlight Polish filmmakers hits the city of Chicago for two weeks. We’re intrigued by the Jan Jakub Kolski film “Jasminum” and the retrospective on silent film star Pola Negri.

Isabella Rossellini: Illuminated

Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center presents this retrospective on the acting career of international star Isabella Rossellini to coincide with the release of her directorial debut, “My Dad is 100 Years Old,” about her father, the underrated Italian neo-realist director. Phew. Other highlights include “Wild at Heart,” “The Saddest Music in the World,” and, of course, “Blue Velvet.” Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Wilder’s Picks!

Nov. 6-20

Mr. Wonka himself, Gene Wilder, will be available to discuss his favorite films at the Avon Theatre in Connecticut throughout the month. His films of choice are Ernst Lubitsch’s “The Merry Widow,” 1938’s “Topper Takes a Trip,” and his very own “Young Frankenstein.”

Heroic Grace II: Shaw Brothers Return

Nov. 6-28

Last year’s Shaw Brothers retrospective was one of the best series to run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Now BAM takes another look at the legacy of the influential Hong Kong production company, showcasing further kung fu and wuxia highlights.

Jacques Rivette

Nov. 10-Dec. 24

The Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, presents this retrospective on the little-known French director who emerged during the New Wave of the 1960s. This series includes a rarest-of-the-rare screening of his 743-minute 1971 film “Out 1,” presented over two days, with breaks for dinner.

Stockholm International Film Festival

Nov. 16-26

This Swedish film festival introduces Europe to many of the hottest films of the fall. This year, director Lasse Hallstrom will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from his native country. We wish we could tell you more, but alas the website is in Swedish.

Modern Urban Mythology — The Superhero

Nov. 17-22

Superheroes seem to be all the rage these days. Recent hits like Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” series and the “X-Men” trilogy pleased critics and reignited superhero interest, while the new series “Heroes” is one of the few successes of this year’s TV season. All things caped and masked hit the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica for this five-day retrospective of the superhero films of yesteryear. Hollywood’s original “Superman” (directed by Richard Donner) and “Batman” (directed by Tim Burton) will be screened, along with their initial sequels. Also screening will be the artsy 1960s caper “Danger: Diabolik” and the unappreciated comedy “The Specials,” about a group of loser superheroes headed by Thomas Haden Church.

Gotham Awards

Nov. 29

This year’s Best Feature nominees include such indie classics as, er, “The Departed,” “Little Children” and “Marie Antoinette.” Oh well, at least the red carpet will be good.

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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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