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Film Programming: A New Wilderness for Former Film Critics.

Film Programming: A New Wilderness for Former Film Critics. (photo)

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Only two days removed from the announcement that Newsweek‘s David Ansen would be taking over as the artistic director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, the L.A. Weekly‘s chief film critic Scott Foundas has taken the Associate Program Director gig at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where he had previously served as part of the New York Film Festival’s selection committee. Whether or not Foundas’ position at the Weekly will actually be filled remains to be seen and all of this comes a week after Variety critic Robert Koehler completed his first turn as a programmer at Los Angeles’ AFI Fest, which has been generally considered to be a success. (And whether this was on the mind of Foundas when he wrote a glowing cover story about Koehler’s transition to programming the AFI Fest is equally questionable.)

As Sarasota Film Festival director of programming Tom Hall aptly put it when he heard the Ansen announcement, the recent hires have made “the idea of film programming sound a little bit like a bomb shelter.” While it’s obvious a steady gig holds great appeal for the practitioners of a profession under siege, you’ll notice that these film critics are turning into programmers in New York and Los Angeles, places that appreciate a little star power and what better way to add a little pizzazz to your staff list than to hire a recognizable name. Ironically, if Koehler’s recent turn at AFI is any indication, recognizable names may not be the order of the day for these film festivals when actually picking which movies to play, something that could be a welcome change from the vanity projects that so often litter U.S. festivals or spell disaster when trying to attract audiences who want something to hang their hat on.

As Hall notes, the beauty of the recent AFI Fest was that it was free, meaning that one didn’t need to be all that adventurous to take a chance on Philippe Grandrieux’s “A Lake,” but as he adds, “When you’re dealing with a sponsor driven, non-profit event, you can’t show all the movies you love.” And therein lies the challenge for Foundas (who will also work on year-around programs) and Ansen as they switch jobs from being held accountable to no one but themselves as critics to becoming the leaders of organizations that have to take the tastes of the public into account. Here’s hoping they succeed.

[Photo: “A Lake,” Shellac Distribution, 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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