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04141008_munyurangabo.jpgI was lucky enough to get to spend the past few days at the Sarasota Film Festival, which was a kick-ass mix of an ambitious and wide-ranging film line-up from programmers Tom Hall and Holly Herrick, lavish, gown-and-tux-and-shrimp cocktail parties, and downtime on the beach. I was on the jury for the Narrative Feature Competition, along with John Kochman of Unifrance and Ligiah Villalobos, writer/producer of “La Misma Luna.” After some solid deliberation, we ended up giving the prize to Lee Isaac Chung’s very fine “Munyurangabo,” which follows a pair of boys, one an orphan and the other estranged from his family, as they travel from Kigali on a journey to avenge the former’s parents. Shot in Rwanda with nonprofessional local actors, the film certainly has nods to African cinema, but I think that Holly made a good point in describing it as having more in common with American indie film. “Munyurangabo” premiered at Cannes and also won the narrative grand jury prize at the 2007 AFI Fest, but hasn’t managed to secure distribution. I’m guessing it’ll continue to make the fest rounds, and it’s well worth seeking out.

The narrative line-up was very international — I was also happy to get a chance to see “California Dreamin'” and “The Edge of Heaven,” and to run into plenty of filmmakers from SXSW, many of whom had films in the Independent Visions competition. The other prizes:

The 2008 Best Documentary Feature Competition Award sponsored by Sky Sotheby’s was presented to “Stranded: I Have Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains” by Gonzalo Arijon.

A Special Documentary Jury Prize was presented by the Documentary Feature jury to “To See If I’m Smiling” by Tamar Yarom.

The 2008 Independent Visions Competition Award, sponsored by Heineken, was presented to “The Pleasure of Being Robbed” by Joshua Safdie.

An Independent Visions Special Jury Prize for Cinematography was presented ­to “Medicine For Melancholy” by Barry Jenkins, Cinematography by James Laxton.

Sponsored by Bombay Sapphire, special recognition goes to winners of our Audience Favorite Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary, Excellence in World Cinema, and Best Short Film. Each category carries a $1,000 cash prize presented to the filmmaker.

Bombay Sapphire Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature to “Fugitive Pieces” by Jeremy Podeswa.

Bombay Sapphire Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature was presented to “Of All The Things” by Jody Lambert.

Bombay Sapphire Audience Award for Best in World Cinema was presented to “Christmas Story” (Finland) by Juha Wuolijoki.

Bombay Sapphire Audience Award for Best Short Film was presented to “La Corona” by Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega.

Fellow fest jurors Matt Dentler and AJ Schnack have also posted thoughts on their pick.

[Photo: “Munyurangabo,” Almond Tree Films, 2007]

+ I Have Come From A Plane That Landed in Austin (Matt Dentler’s Blog)
+ A Note About Jury Duty (All These Wonderful Things)

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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

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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.

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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

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