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Getting closer to the world’s first $0 movie.

Getting closer to the world’s first $0 movie. (photo)

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There’s a history of movies whose low budgets and origin stories are more famous than the films themselves. From his 1992 $7,000 debut “El Mariachi” onward, Robert Rodriguez has practically built a career out of this kind of thing. A decade later, Shane Carruth would make a much better movie — “Primer” — for the same number (unadjusted for inflation!), but people didn’t talk about his budget as much. That’s because all there was (and is, honestly) to Rodriguez is undisciplined fanboy enthusiasm and extreme production ingenuity; Carruth’s movie would have been a knock-out no matter its cost.

People are always fascinated by these kinds of stories, which is a good thing for filmmakers; in certain circumstances, not being able to afford a budget can be, ironically, your greatest marketing asset. So it is with Marc Price’s “Colin,” a movie I’m very late in finding out about (it played at Cannes earlier this year). Shot for £45 (about $75), it deliberately foregrounds rather than disguises its cheapness.

In an interview this week with Time Out‘s Nigel Floyd, Price uses his budget to deflate expectations. “That £45 figure was a way of lowering [zombie fans’] expectations,” he bluntly declares. “We just wanted to be honest about how cheap the film was, so people would be in the right head space when they were going in to watch it. That way, they might stick with it and enjoy it.” Normally you’re supposed to wow people with how much you did with so little; Price is going the other way, using his budget to get people not to expect more than the zombie gore he loves, done with fanboy fervor for other fans.

With its stroboscopic editing and deliberate grunge, “Colin” looks just close enough to the kind of museum-oriented video project MoMA might geek out over. But Price has absolutely zero pretensions toward genre deconstruction or any kind of formal project; he just wanted to be part of the zombie movie tradition and was depressed he couldn’t afford to live up to George Romero’s standard. Floyd profile of the filmmaker is skeptical — he was unsure before he saw the film if there was anything more to it than an easy sell for intrigued journalists. As a genre guy himself, Floyd likes the first-person POV — the film follows Colin’s degeneration into flesh-eater from his perspective — but has to ultimately conclude that “Colin” is “a promising feature-length home movie.”

But it’s a home movie that’s getting a UK release October 23, so Price has won: I’m pretty sure this is the least expensive movie ever to get legitimate theatrical distribution. Price is talking now about making a movie that doesn’t rely upon actors bringing their own lunches and latex make-up left over from the “Wolverine” set. (The money spent only went towards extra tapes and cheap coffee/tea.)

Price’s film is a new variation on the low-budget trick: get it done for no money and make that your selling point — but make it look like a no-budget film, rather than something more. An iffy precedent, encouraging people to watch budgets rather than movies, but also a way to sell a movie to a public that might otherwise not care.

The trailer:

[Photo: “Colin,” Kaleidoscope Entertainment, 2009]

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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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