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“Sleepwalk with Me” director-writer-star Mike Birbiglia details the film’s true-life origin


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Considering the fact that “Sleepwalk with Me” is based largely on comedian Mike Birbiglia’s own life, if should come as no surprise that you can find his stamp all over it. Birbiglia starred in, directed and wrote the project, and also joked to IFC that he was the gaffer, the bus boy, the costume designer, the make-up artist and the person in charge of craft services on the film.

“Sleepwalk with Me” made its big premiere at SXSW and IFC was able to catch up with Birbiglia and producer Jacob Jaffke to talk about their inspiration for creating the project. As mentioned earlier, much of the basis for the story comes from Birbiglia’s own life.

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“It’s a film about this character loosely based on my life, so it was originally a one-man show, of a guy who is kind of in denial about various things in his life, his sleep disorder, his failing relationship with his college sweetheart, and his failing career,” Birbiglia said. “And it’s kind of about how that denial mounts to a point where it nearly kills him.”

And the denial once almost killed Birbiglia as well. Jaffke explained how it’s Birbiglia’s real-life experiences that drive the heart of this movie.

“Something that has real, actual stakes is engaging, dramatically speaking, and I think the comedy comes from how we respond to those life-threatening situations, how we look at the world,” he said. “Mike has an exceptionally unique voice in that way, where he’s like, ‘I almost died, but it was kind of funny.'”

Because this film does draw on its director/writer/star’s personal experiences, there was a certain balancing act required to make sure the creative and business decisions regarding the film didn’t ruin anything significant in its story.

“I think some of the challenges along the way are my job kind of compromises some of the art, and to do it in such a way that you’re not compromising the vision and you’re being true to what the filmmaker wants to do,” Jaffke said.

Are you intrigued by the real-life implications of “Sleepwalk with Me”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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