This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

DID YOU READ

A Spirited Q & A With “The Wolf Knife” Director Laurel Nakadate

A Spirited Q & A With “The Wolf Knife” Director Laurel Nakadate (photo)

Posted by on

As a way of celebrating this year’s nominees for the Spirit Awards in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we reached out to as many as we could in an effort to better understand what went into their films, what they’ve gotten out of the experience, and where they’ve found their inspiration, both in regards to their work and other works of art that might’ve inspired them from the past year. Their answers will be published on a daily basis throughout February.

Ordinarily, one would refrain from mentioning in a piece intended to praise a Spirit Awards nominee that an early trade review of a film counted the number of walkouts that occurred during one of its press screenings. But in the case of “The Wolf Knife,” it may just be the best way to describe the film’s uncompromising nature that drove away some which makes it something worth celebrating for so many others. Of course, Laurel Nakadate has likely become accustomed to such divisive reaction to her work. As a renowned video artist and photographer, her art — currently on display in her first major exhibit at the MoMA PS1 in New York — often deals with the objectification of young women and the politics of sex. “The Wolf Knife” is no exception as it follows two teen girls (Christina Kolozsvary and Julie Potratz) on the road from Hollywood, Florida to Nashville, Tennessee in a style as stripped down as its swimsuit-clad leads.

Shot in 10 days with just two other people on crew using a car that wasn’t Nakadate’s, the production was not one for the timid. Naturally, the film that resulted is similarly brave. While the implication of a nomination in the Acura Someone to Watch category of the Spirit Awards that suggests Nakadate is new on the scene may be a slight misnomer since her debut “Stay the Same Never Change” in 2008 already made that announcement, there is perhaps no more apt nominee, since with her films, it’s hard to look away. Navigating the fragile psyche of girls on the verge of becoming women with equal aplomb as the American landscape that has long been a backdrop of her art, Nakadate may often travel a lonely road, but continues to push boundaries wherever she goes.

Why did you want to make this film?

I was interested in telling a dark and awkward story about teenage girls’ relationships. I think that, in the moment between adolescence and adulthood, there is a complicated window where childhood relationships are tested and out of that testing can emerge an uncomfortable and urgent story. I was really interested in talking about discomfort, beauty and desire. I knew I could make the film, the moment I met the lead actors, when I saw their faces, I knew I could tell the story I wanted to tell.

02032011_WolfKnife2.jpgWhat was the best piece of advice you received that applied to the making of this film?

When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to take classes with the very gifted photographer Gregory Crewdson. He told us a story about how, early on in his career, he left a note at a woman’s house asking if he could make a perfect circle in the grass behind her house in order to make a photograph. The woman left him a note in return saying something to the effect of “Do whatever you need to do”. I’ve never forgotten this story, and I often marvel at and find comfort in it when I’m up against a massive creative obstacle.

What was the toughest thing to overcome, whether it applies to a particular scene or the film as a whole?

I’d say it way I chose to cast the film. I only cast the two lead actors in advance; the entire supporting cast was found, after I’d arrived in the cities we were shooting. I loved working with all those local people, in the towns we traveled to and shot in, but it was a bit harrowing at times, the uncertainty of knowing whether I would find the correct actor for the part we had to shoot the next day. Some days it was thrilling, the challenge of just going with it, and some days it was very, very, scary. I really learned to trust my gut and settle into the idea that all the pieces would fall together and that chance and fate would be more brilliant and exciting than absolute, pre-planned certainty and traditional casting approaches.

What’s been the most memorable moment while you’ve traveled with the film, either at a festival or otherwise?

On the morning that we shot the final scene of the film, we drove to a baseball field that we’d noticed the night before. The sun was just coming up and Chrissy had to cry in front of that sunrise. I remember her standing there, in her dirty costume, tears welling up in her eyes as an airplane rose across the sky. It disappeared into the sun and then emerged on the other side. In some ways, I feel like making this film was like disappearing into the sun and being lucky enough to emerge on the other side.

What’s your favorite thing about your film that’s been largely uncommented upon?

The production crew was only three members. I wrote, shot, edited and directed the film. Christina, the actor who played “Chrissy” brought on two of her friends from school to serve as sound and productions assistants. I love that it was a challenging shoot and that the three of us managed to produce the film that we did.

02032011_WolfKnife3.jpgWhat’s been the most gratifying thing to come out of this film for you personally?

The film was shot on an extremely modest budget. We had to borrow everything: camera, car, floors to sleep on, swimming pools and living rooms. It was an affirmation of the greatness of friends, trusting the creative process and the idea that if you want to make something badly enough, you will find a way to make it. I suppose that was the most gratifying thing. Humbling too.

Your favorite film, book or album from the past year?

I love Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime.” I can’t stop thinking about that film, actually. It sort of destroyed my heart. He’s just so brilliant.

“The Wolf Knife” currently does not have U.S. distribution, but will play San Francisco on February 24th. A full schedule can be found here. The Spirit Awards will air on IFC on February 26th.

IFC_Portlandia-S8_best-of-skits_subaru-blog

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

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 IFC.com

IFC_Portlandia-S8_pick-a-lane_subaru-blog

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

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.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
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…