We are still a little more than a month away from the official start of awards season, but for IFC‘s smash-out-of-the-box indie hit, Boyhood, it already began in earnest on Sunday with back-to-back screenings and Q&As for members of the newly chosen 2000-strong Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee, and later its official Academy screening at the newly re-opened Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Acad’s Beverly Hills headquarters. The SAG nom comm is just beginning its long schedule of these kinds of screenings, and Sunday afternoon’s was the first big one in LA, although I am told there were a couple of smaller films for the nom comm early in June just as the randomly-chosen group of actors was formed for this year’s race. They packed the Pacific Design Center’s screening room and after the Q&A with stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and young Ellar Coltrane along with writer/director Richard Linklater, the SAG crowd gave them all a heartfelt standing ovation. I moderated and there was also much applause when I brought each of them on stage for the 40-minute conversation. The making of the film on 36 shooting days over the course of 12 years has been a well-publicized story this summer, and each of them offered detailed answers on various aspects of a film that is unique in motion picture history, particularly from the point of view …
IFC is getting a makeover. IFC today said its new logo, along with its new look and new on-air promotions reflect a fresh approach to how the network speaks to viewers and advertisers. “After nearly four years it was time to give IFC a little facelift. The new brand design is not only a great look, but it also allows us to apply our uniquely offbeat sensibility to everything we do – show promotions, movie promos and even the boring stuff like ratings disclaimers will have our unique take,” said Blake Callaway, IFC’s EVP of marketing & digital media. The IFC brand refresh includes a bold typography for primary messaging, a nod to the brand’s humor in a smaller font, and a collection of IFC approved “Stamps” that certify every movie and show as an “Original,” “Brand New,” “Classic,” “Staff Pick,” or something to “Rewatch”, says IFC. The brand refresh, developed in partnership with NYC-based agency Gretel, launches on May 8
Former IFC head of original programming Debbie DeMontreux has joined Michael Davies’ Sony TV-owned production company Embassy Row as SVP of Development & Programming. DeMontreux, who is starting this month, will oversee development of new projects as well as all programming currently in production. DeMonreux spent 25 years at AMC Networks, most recently as SVP of Original Programming at IFC for the last 7 years, until resigning at the end of last year. Under her watch, IFC launched its flagship comedy series, Portlandia, as well as Comedy Bang! Bang!, Maron, sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller; and Will Ferrell’s miniseries The Spoils of Babylon.
IFC has unveiled a slate of new and returning comedy projects, along with projects in development, ahead of its upfront tonight in New York. New programming for 2015 includes American Documentary (working title), a docu-parody created by Saturday Night Live vets Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers; and American Storage (working title), a scripted half-hour comedy starring Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital, Human Giant). IFC is also collaborating with CollegeHumor on the first-ever Comedy Music Awards, a satire of traditional awards shows incorporating the best of the comedy and music worlds. Returning for an expanded fourth season is Comedy Bang! Bang! hosted by Scott Aukerman (Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis), and a sophomore season of its original sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) and Ben Stiller, featuring the LA comedy troupe of the same name. IFC is also currently developing Westside from Joel McHale (Community), and The Bank from Teri Weinberg (Ugly Betty). The slate comes out a week after Pete Aronson was tapped as IFC’s new head of original programming. Here is the full list:
Former Regency TV president Peter Aronson is returning to the executive ranks, joining IFC as EVP Original Programming. He succeeds Debbie DeMontreux who resigned in December. Aronson will oversee original programming, working out of the network’s Los Angeles office. New York-based IFC has only had a presence in Los Angeles with a development executive (director Erin Keating) since opening an office last year, so this marks a major West Coast shift for the cable network. Along with fellow TV executive-turned digital entrepreneur Jordan Levin, with whom he co-founded Generate, Aronson had been in play since October when Alloy Digital and Break Media merged to form Defy Media, run largely by the Break Media team. Following Alloy’s 2012 acquisition of Generate, Aronson served as EVP of Alloy Digital in addition to his role at president of Generate. Aronson’s IFC appointment comes a couple of weeks after Levin landed the No. 2 post under Nancy Tellem at Xbox Entertainment Studios.
At IFC, Aronson will report to Jennifer Caserta, IFC’s president. “IFC is increasingly defined by our ‘slightly off’ approach to original programming, so having the right creative executive running this critical function is so important for our continued growth and success,” Caserta said. “Peter has a terrific record of developing distinctive programming that connects with viewers, and will help us build on our strong momentum by expanding our …
IFC has promoted Blake Callaway to the newly created position of EVP of marketing and digital media. Formerly SVP of marketing, Callaway will oversee all aspects of IFC’s marketing efforts including consumer and industry campaigns, on-and-off-air creative, digital media, and integrated advertiser solutions, the network says. Based in the NYC headquarters, Callaway reports to IFC’s President and General Manager, Jennifer Caserta. Prior to IFC, Callaway served as SVP of marketing, brand and strategy at Syfy.
EXCLUSIVE: Capping a rocking day for deals at the Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films is closing a deal to acquired God’s Pocket, the directorial debut of Mad Men star John Slattery. The black comedy stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro. Slattery wrote the black comedy with Alex Metcalf. Slattery, Sam Bisbee Lance Acord, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Emily Ziff and Hoffman produced. Hoffman plays Mickey, who, after his nutty stepson gets killed in a construction “accident,” tries to hide the truth from a newspaper columnist (Jenkins) who profiles the people of God’s Pocket. And though he’s gone to seed, he might uncover the truth unless Mickey can stop him. The film is playing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, and it has been a buzz title since it premiered late Friday afternoon at the Eccles Theater. The film is being repped by Gersh.
The dam finally broke on film deals after a slow start. The numbers aren’t huge, but nobody expected them to be. I’d ask people about films, and they liked many of them. When I asked if they had commercials potential, the reviews weren’t so stellar. Many left the festival today, and …
At some point before comedies like Portlandia, Maron and Comedy Bang! Bang! made their way to the network, it was knows as Independent Film Channel (IFC for short). During the TCA press tour today, president and GM Jennifer Caserta made the name-shortening official: IFC will now be known as IFC. “The name ‘Independent Film Channel’ has been legally retired and IFC as an acronym now stands for nothing,” Caserta said. “Well, it actually stands for a growing number of smart, funny and original alternative comedies, but our viewers already know that. So, starting today, IFC is legally IFC.”
IFC’s new parody of epic TV miniseries, The Spoils Of Babylon, From Funny or Die, boasts a boatload of Saturday Night Live alums behind and in front of the camera: Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Matt Piedmont, Andrew Steele, etc. Six, half-hour episodes will premiere on IFC in early 2014. Not surprisingly, the SNL alums got asked, during Winter TV Press Tour 2014, to weigh in on the controversy that erupted this season over the lack of black female cast member on the NBC late-night series. In response to the controversy, Lorne Michaels in the past several days has hired not only a black comedienne for the cast, but also two black female writers.
“If you can give little insight, was this ever really anything? And is this ultimately good for the show, and what it means,” one critic asked the Spoils panel, a little unclearly.
EXCLUSIVE: IFC‘s SVP Original Programming Debbie DeMontreux has resigned. Her last day is today, and a search is underway for a replacement. “After 25 years with the company, Debbie DeMontreux has decided to leave to pursue new opportunities,” IFC said in a statement to Deadline. “She has made a significant contribution to the success of IFC and we wish her all the best.” DeMontreux oversaw the development and production of IFC’s original series, including Portlandia; Comedy Bang! Bang!; Out There; Maron; R. Kelly’s hip-hop opera Trapped In The Closet, which is returning for a new installment; as well as the upcoming limited series The Spoils Of Babylon, from Funny or Die and Will Ferrell, and sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys, produced by Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk. While several IFC shows have achieved cult status and Portlandia has been raking in awards nominations, the network is yet to reach a wider audience the way its sibling AMC has — something the network is hoping for with the high-profile and star-studded The Spoils Of Babylon.
Childrens Hospital star Rob Huebel and newcomer John Karna are set to topline American Storage, IFC’s comedy pilot based on the 2006 short film that starred Steve Carell and David Krumholtz. Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (the upcoming Neighbors), who co-wrote the short, also co-penned the pilot, with the short’s director Cohen helming. American Storage follows the unlikely friendship between a straight-laced employee (Karna) at a storage facility and Kurt (Huebel), the eccentric man he discovers living in one of the units like it was an apartment. Kurt steals Internet from next door, pays the lowest rent you could imagine, and basically thinks he’s got life figured out. He’s charming and interesting, and might be a genius or crazy. The pilot is produced by Troy Miller of Dakota Pictures. Huebel, repped by UTA, Principato-Young Entertainment and attorney Karl Austen, is shooting the independent feature Barely Lethal and has joined the cast of Horrible Bosses 2. This marks Karna’s second acting job, after just completing indie Premature. He is with Gersh, Coronel Group and Scott Whitehead.
IFC‘s miniseries parody The Spoils Of Babylon chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of the complicated Morehouse family who made their fortune in the oil business. Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig lead the all-star cast which also includes Jessica Alba, Will Ferrell, Jellybean Howie, Val Kilmer, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Sheen, and Steve Tom. The six-part series is produced by Funny or Die for IFC and executive produced by Ferrell, Adam McKay, Matt Piedmont, Andrew Steele and Nate Young. Steele and Piedmont created and wrote the series, and Piedmont directed. The Spoils Of Babylon premieres with two back-to-back half-hour episodes January 9 at 10 PM on IFC. Check out the new trailer:
Original comedy series Comedy Bang! Bang! is coming back for a third season. IFC has ordered 20 half-hour episodes, scheduled to air in two 10-episode installments in 2014. Hosted by comedian-writer and podcast host Scott Aukerman (Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis) Comedy Bang! Bang! riffs on the late-night talk show format with improv elements and Reggie Watts (Conan) as music cohort. Comedians and actors featured on Season 2 include Jessica Alba, Aziz Ansari, David Cross, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader, Pee-wee Herman, Gillian Jacobs, Rashida Jones, Anna Kendrick, Andy Richter, Zoe Saldana, Andy Samberg, Jason Schwartzman, Sarah Silverman, Cobie Smulders and Casey Wilson. Comedy Bang! Bang! is produced for IFC by Abso Lutely Productions; Aukerman and Dave Kneebone serve as executive producers.
IFC Films acquired North American rights to the Zach Clark-directed comedy White Reindeer, which stars Anna Margaret Hollyman, Laura Lemar-Goldsborough, Lydia Johnson, Joe Swanberg and Chris Doubek. Clark, who wrote the script, produced with Daryl Pittman and Melodie Sisk, Kevin Clark and Joan Peacock are exec producers. The film will have a day and date release in theaters and will also premiere digitally on December 6, 2013. Logline: a shell-shocked real estate agent grapples with personal tragedy while fumbling to let loose among strip clubs, department stores, and swinging new neighbors during one sad, strange December in suburban Virginia. Cinetic repped it.
UPDATE 8:20 AM: IFC made a couple more programming announcements this morning. The network has greenlighted Garfunkel & Oates, a 10-episode half-hour featuring the female comedy-folk duo Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates), for a 2014 premiere. It will spotlight the personal and professional lives of the duo whose career choices – singing satirical and sometimes dirty songs — leaves them with little in common with their peers, and no one but each other to turn to for support and understanding. The series is produced by Abominable Pictures and executive produced by Lindhome, Micucci and Jonathan Stern (Childrens Hospital). Additionally, IFC has entered into a first-look deal with the new television division of podcast network Earwolf and is currently developing The Embassy. It stars comedian and podcast regular James Adomian (Childrens Hospital) who will play multiple characters, and is being co-written by Adomian and Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang! Bang!). Set in the Washington D.C. embassy of the fictional nation of Costa Verde, the series follows a controversial hacktivist as he seeks asylum, with his public antics putting the small country on the world’s radar for the first time. IFC also is developing a comedy project with writer/producer Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights).
When it comes to this year’s Foreign Language Film Oscar race, it seems Sundance Selects just can’t catch a break. Coming out of Cannes, the company headed by Jonathan Sehring — who also runs IFC — looked like it easily could have two of the five nominees in the category, especially after its acquisitions took two of the top three prizes at Cannes. The French sensation Blue Is The Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d’Or (usually a key factor in considering a film for Oscar submission), while the Jury Prize (essentially third place) went to Japan’s moving and extremely well-received Like Father, Like Son, which so infatuated Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg that his DreamWorks is negotiating for an English-language remake.
It seemed at the time that both would be a cinch as their respective countries’ entry in the race, and Sundance Selects was riding high. But as Deadline reported in July, a quirky Academy rule that requires a foreign entry to have opened by September 30 in its country of origin KO’d Warmest Color’s chances, despite Sehring’s best efforts to turn it around. Unfortunately Wild Bunch, the film’s French distributor, was dead set on releasing it October 9, and a qualifying run was ruled out. Now, in what for me is an even more stunning setback, the seven-member Japan Movie Producers Association ignored its country’s high-profile Cannes winner and instead chose a more obscure film, The Great Passage (Fune O Amu) from 30-year-old director Yuya Ishii, the youngest ever to represent Japan in the Oscar contest. That film was released in April — doing nice, if unremarkable, business at the box office. Like Father, Like Son is scheduled for a September 28 release in Japan, a date presumably chosen to make it eligible for the Oscar race. But it’s not to be.
IFC has ordered a second season of comedy series Maron from Fox Television Studios. The 13-episode season will debut next year. Marc Maron exec produces, writes and stars. Here’s IFC’s announcement:
NEW YORK, NY –July 23, 2013 – Boomer lives! And so does Maron on IFC. The network announced today the renewal of the critically acclaimed comedy series Maron for a second season with 13 all new half-hour episodes, up from 10, scheduled to premiere in 2014.
“In many ways, Marc is a perfect representation of IFC and our approach to comedy,” said Jennifer Caserta, president and general manager of IFC. “He also seems to be in need of a less dysfunctional family, so we’re happy he’s returning to ours for an expanded second season.”
IFC has given flagship series Portlandia a two-season renewal. The 10-episode Season 4 and Season 5 of the off-beat comedy will premiere in early 2014 and early 2015, respectively. The Emmy-nominated series is created and written by stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel. Portlandia is executive produced by Lorne Michaels and produced by Broadway Video. “Portlandia has celebrated sustainable local agriculture, underemployment, avian crafting, gender politics, intense bicycle messengers and so much more,” said IFC’s president and GM Jennifer Caserta. “We can now celebrate two more seasons.”