FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 11, 2005
IFC Enters Scripted Series Arena with the Debut of Three New Originals in August
New Shows to Contribute to IFC's Summer-Long Line-Up of Originals
New York, NY, May 11, 2005 - IFC announced today that it will officially enter the scripted series arena for the first time in the network's ten year history, when it debuts three new original scripted series in August 2005. The three original series - HOPELESs PICTURES, The Festival and Greg the Bunny - solidify IFC's commitment to original programming, as the culmination of the network's season-long "Summer of IFC" campaign.
In addition to today's scripted series announcement, IFC also announced the expansion of its original programming staff to ensure the continued and consistent output of scripted series and original documentaries and features.
"This will truly be the summer of IFC," said Evan Shapiro, IFC's Executive Vice President & General Manager. "We've programmed the summer to meet the demands and viewing styles of the young, male, early-adopter audience devoted to IFC and ifctv.com. Documentaries, animation, Pulp Indies and puppets - we've stretched the boundaries of what we do, while remaining true to our core mission - and we expect the reaction from our fans to be enthusiastic."
"It's a pleasure to be working with a network known for its commitment to filmmakers and a mandate to be truly independent and original," said Bob Balaban, writer, director & producer of HOPELESs PICTURES. "I couldn't have found a better home for HOPELESs PICTURES than IFC."
In conjunction with today's announcement, IFC has expanded and restructured its original programming department to reflect its growing slate. Debbie DeMontreux, Vice President of Original Series and Events, will continue to oversee IFC's original series and live broadcast events, which now expands to include scripted, and will now also manage the production of the network's long and short form packages. Alison Bourke, Vice President of Documentaries and Features, will oversee the network's fiction and non-fictional feature-length projects, including an output of six full-length docs for 2006.
"It is thrilling to embark on original scripted material, a natural progression for IFC as a destination where viewers come for great stories and storytelling," said Debbie DeMontreux. "I am equally excited about working with such a talented and diverse group of individuals. The expansion of the original series and events department further emphasizes IFC's commitment to original programming and our entertainment brand initiative. We hope that our efforts will continue to increase the value of the IFC brand and serve our viewers well."
The expanded original programming teams include:
Original Series & Events
Christine Lubrano, Director, Original Series & Events will oversee IFC's live event programming including the Independent Spirit Awards as well as IFC's At the IFC Center (formerly At the Angelika) and various promotional specials and sponsorship packaging, specifically those with partners Heineken and Target.
Susan Heimbinder, Manager, Original Series & Events will oversee development and production of new original series including HOPELESs PICTURES and The Festival.
Doug Marshall, Production Administrator, will work closely with Lubrano as well as develop IFC News segments.
Bianca Biscaino, Production Administrator, will work closely with Heimbinder while also serving as Production Coordinator on IFC's current series, Henry's Film Corner.
Original Documentaries & Features
Jessica Wolfson, Supervisor Documentaries and Features, will work with Ms. Bourke on IFC's feature-length projects.
IFC will launch its serial programming in August with the following:
HOPELESs PICTURES (animated comedy, 10 episodes, 17-22 minutes) Written, directed and produced by Bob Balaban. HOPELESs PICTURES is an animated half-hour series about a failing Hollywood indie studio. Cast includes: Michael McKean, Jennifer Coolidge, Bob Balaban, John Michael Higgins, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Weitz, Isaac Mizrahi, Paul Reubens and Nora Ephron. Studio head Mel Wax (McKean) struggles to reign in out-of-control pill-popping Swedish directors and assorted egomaniacal stars and starlets, while coping with a vengeful soon-to-be ex-wife, assorted affairs, his idiot nephew/head of production, and a hostile takeover, with the help of his inept psychiatrist played by Jonathan Katz. The dysfunctional studio is suitably named for Mel's parents HOPE and LES Wax. Mark Kassen and Adam Kassen of TriggerStreet Independent are producing.
The Festival (verite satire, 6 episodes, 22-26 minutes) A verit?-satire, The Festival is an ensemble comedy, told from the perspective of fictional IFC documentarian, Cookie. Cookie's subject: Rufus Marquez, a quixotic young director embarking on his virgin voyage to the prestigious Mountain United Film Festival (MUFF.) The Film is The Unreasonable Truth of Butterflies. The goal is a distribution deal. And the pressure is on.
Rufus - unprepared for the excess of schmoozing activities - maneuvers an assortment of pretentious filmmakers, salivating distributors and smile-for-the-camera festival VIPs. The problem is, no one has seen his film - and the more no one sees it, the hotter the buzz becomes.
As her bosses close in, Cookie loses her objectivity and Rufus loses his film - literally - as his masterpiece goes missing.
The Festival is produced by Philms Pictures, with Phil Price directing and Brandi-Ann Milbradt producing.
Greg the Bunny (puppet parodies, 12 episodes, 5-12 minutes) For Greg the Bunny and Warren the Ape, the cancellation of their Fox sitcom is now just a painful memory. More current concerns are overdue rent and funding Warren's drinking habit. So they've returned to where it all began: making film parodies for IFC. Parodies include:
Fargo aka Gofar: Pal Friendlies (Greg the Bunny's agent) attempts to defraud IFC by staging an inept plot to kidnap Greg. Tragically, one puppet meets his fate at the bottom of a wood-chipper.
Pulp Fiction aka Dead Puppet Storage: Mayhem ensues when Pal Friendlies takes the director's chair in this puppet tribute to Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece.
Auto Focus aka Focus Pocus: Warren bonds with a creepy camera assistant-puppet over their shared interest in out-dated audio/video equipment. Warren's obsession with this degenerate soon becomes a problem.
Moxie Pictures produces Greg the Bunny; Dan Milano, Spencer Chinoy and Sean Baker serve as the co-creators, writers and directors. Dan also performs all characters.
Today's announcement is part of IFC's summer long slate of new original programming each month, beginning in May:
May - Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (May 9), the first feature-length documentary from director Xan Cassavetes.
June - June is Pulp Month - a kick-ass indie film classic every damn night at 11 pm - uncut and uncensored. Pulp Month includes the network premieres of Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown and Blade Runner, as well as the premiere of the short-form documentary, Reservoir Dogs Revisited, on June 3.
On June 10, IFC will premiere a Greg the Bunny pulp-homage, "Fur on the Asphalt: The Greg the Bunny Reunion Special," the first new work from the Greg the Bunny team since their cancellation on FOX.
July - Punk: Attitude (July 9), a documentary from Don Letts about the influence of punk rock on independent filmmakers, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival last month. The doc will premiere as part of God Save IFC weekend, along with the world premiere of IFC's new short feature Jesus of Suburbia, based on the Green Day song, which is the network's official anthem.
August - On August 19, IFC premieres its new slate of original scripted series, HOPELESs PICTURES, The Festival and Greg the Bunny, as part of the network's "Film Fanatic Friday's" destination.
September - In September, IFC debuts Spaghetti West, a chronicle of the rise and fall of the Spaghetti Western film genre. The one-hour special includes clips from notable films such as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, and commentary from actor/director Clint Eastwood, producer Alberto Grimaldi and composer Ennio Morricone.
About IFC Television
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first and most widely distributed network dedicated to independent film 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial free.
The Independent Film Channel is a part of IFC Companies, which has established itself as the future of independent film. With the television network, as well as a film distribution and production unit and a VOD service, IFC Companies has created over the course of the past decade a revolutionary end-to-end business model and brand that focuses on developing and nurturing talent and maximizing the value of independent film. IFC Companies uses its unique cross-platform position to broaden the audience of independent film and to provide independent filmmakers with a strong voice. IFC Companies is a division of Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC.