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Ryan Kwanten and Patrick Hughes’ Bloody Road to “Red Hill”

Ryan Kwanten and Patrick Hughes’ Bloody Road to “Red Hill” (photo)

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Even before the opening credits run before “Red Hill,” there’s something mildly amusing about how Patrick Hughes named the couple at the center of his contemporary western Shane and Alice Cooper, the former an admitted nod to westerns past (Gary Cooper) and the latter a possibly inadvertent reference to something more rock ‘n’ roll. Ultimately, Hughes’ film is a bit of both, set against the backdrop of a once prosperous gold rush town that has fallen into disrepair when a young cop (Ryan Kwanten) and his pregnant wife (Claire van der Boom) resettle from the city to raise their soon-to-be-born child. But Officer Cooper’s first day patrolling the country roads is as pressure-filled as when he was minding the streets when a convicted murderer escapes and seeks revenge on the men who arrested him.

“It’s like a prequel to Eastwood and Wayne,” Kwanten said during the post-screening Q & A of the film of his character Cooper, a rookie who is tasked with covering the ominously named Skins Creek Road as an afterthought by his commander Old Bill (Steve Bisley). While Cooper’s new squadron barely takes the new guy seriously, “Red Hill” itself is the real deal, a mashup of eras that sees fit to score an old fashioned bar shootout with Stevie Wright’s tubthumping “Black Eyed Bruiser” from a nearby jukebox and illustrates the slow death of a town that time has simply passed by.

After years of directing commercials, Hughes had a similar fear of opportunity passing him by after trying to get a feature into production for years. Calling in favors from his commercials crew and shooting on the unused reel ends from bigger productions such as “Fast & Furious” (meaning the occasional stoppage of a scene just to replace the film in the camera), Hughes put up his own money to make “Red Hill” and developed the film as his wife was pregnant, which contributes to the resonance of our hero’s struggle to make it out alive for the birth of his son. Following the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest, he and Kwanten sat down to talk about the “True Blood” star’s first Aussie production in eight years, Hughes’ plans for a trilogy and why fake blood makes Kwanten feel like a man.

09252010_RyanKwantenRedHill2.jpgWhat was strong enough about this that you decided it was going to be the first feature?

Patrick Hughes: I sat down and said I’m just going to write something I know I can shoot in four weeks with little money, but I felt like at the same time that I wanted to write something that would have impact. All any filmmaker wants to do is try and get noticed and get into the system and tell a story at the end of the day that you want to go and see. I felt like I wanted to go and see a movie like this, but no one’s kind of made one. So I thought it was a bit fresh in that sense that it was a modern take on it.

Ryan, when you hear Patrick has literally bet the house on this movie, what makes you want to join in?

Ryan Kwanten: His madness. [both laugh] Because I think you have to have a chromosome missing to want to be a part of this business and I think you have to have two chromosomes missing to want to be a part of this film.

PH: [laughs] And three if you want to put up your house.

RK: Right. [laughs] I thought if this guy is willing to go to these lengths, he must believe in it. His script already made me a believer and then after speaking to him, I was more than ready to sign on. And he kept telling me in the conversation, this is going to be a tough shoot – very much appealing to me anyway. I wasn’t after an easy shoot. And it was tough, but it was certainly memorable and I felt like it was a very worthwhile journey.

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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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