IFC CENTER’S SPLIT SCREENS PRESENTS:
“The Sopranos Film Festival,”
A Weeklong Tribute to David Chase’s Groundbreaking HBO Series,
January 9-14, 2019
Curated and Hosted by Matt Zoller Seitz, Renowned TV Critic and
Co-Author of The Sopranos Sessions, the Tribute Features
Screenings Of Classic Films and Landmark Sopranos Episodes, and
Special Guests Discussing the Series’ Influences and Legacy
Opening Night Special Event, Wednesday, January 9th,
Co-Presented by HBO:
“Woke Up This Morning: The Sopranos 20th Anniversary Celebration,”
at 7:00pm at SVA Theatre
IFC Center Also Announces May 29-June 2 Dates for 3rd Annual
Split Screens Festival in New York,
Celebrating the Art and Craft of Television
New York, December 20, 2018 — “The Sopranos Film Festival,” a weeklong tribute to David Chase’s groundbreaking HBO series, will take place Wednesday, January 9 through Monday, January 14 with an opening night celebration at the SVA Theatre to be followed by five days of live events at IFC Center. Presented by the Split Screens festival and organized by Split Screens Creative Director Matt Zoller Seitz, longtime TV critic for New York magazine, the program will screen classic films and Sopranos episodes to explore the series’ influences and legacy on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.
In addition to “The Sopranos” fest, IFC Center today announced that its heralded Split Screens Festival, celebrating the art and craft of television, will return to New York City for its third edition from May 29-June 2, 2019. Seitz will continue to program the festival. Details regarding the TV festival’s content will be announced in the weeks ahead.
“The Sopranos Film Festival” opens Wednesday, January 9 at 7:00pm with a special event at the SVA Theatre, co-presented by HBO: “Woke Up This Morning: The Sopranos 20th Anniversary Celebration.” Series creator and executive producer David Chase, along with executive producers Terence Winter, Matthew Weiner, Ilene S. Landress and cast members will take part in a special program of clips and conversation, moderated by Seitz (co-author of the new book The Sopranos Sessions), to discuss their experience making one of TV’s landmark shows. The full lineup of participants will be announced shortly.
“From the very beginning, The Sopranos was a show that wore its cinematic aspirations on its sleeve, and that often took inspiration from movies of the past,” notes Seitz. “During its eight-year run on HBO, the series drew critical scrutiny from both television and film critics. It is probably as responsible as the original Twin Peaks for giving viewers permission to talk about TV in language that had previously been more often applied to movies, and discuss how the two art forms borrowed from each other, influence each other, and were in conversation with each other. This festival is a showcase for that dialogue.”
After the opening night event, the program moves to IFC Center, screening films from the gangster milestone The Public Enemy to art-house classics Blow-Up and Barry Lyndon, to Chase’s own feature debut, Not Fade Away, along with key episodes of the series and panel discussions with Sopranos cast and crew and other special guests. The lineup also includes the world premiere of the documentary My Dinner with Alan in which TV critics Seitz and Alan Sepinwall meet at the New Jersey diner that was the setting for the show’s controversial final scene for a wide-ranging conversation covering television, movies, psychiatry, gangsterism, their 20-year friendship, and their work at the Newark Star-Ledger.
A schedule for The Sopranos Film Festival is below; additional events will be announced in the coming days.
Watch all episodes of The Sopranos® Series on HBO Go/HBO NOW.
About Split Screens:
Split Screens Festival is produced and presented by IFC Center, one of New York’s leading independent cinemas, and is organized by the core team of its successful DOC NYC documentary film festival, including Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen, Director of Development Deborah Rudolph and Operations Director Dana Krieger. Collaborating with broadcasters, cable networks and streaming services, the festival will highlight great content from a range of platforms to bring together the creative talent behind TV’s most acclaimed shows and sophisticated New York audiences.
Tickets are available online at splitscreensfestival.com or in person at the IFC Center box office (323 Sixth Avenue, at West 3rd Street). Tickets for Opening Night at SVA are $20 general admission/$15 IFC Center members. All other individual events in the festival are $15 general admission/$11 seniors/$10 IFC Center members. A Ten-ticket pack, valid for ten festival admissions, is available for $120 general admission/$80 IFC Center members.
“The Sopranos Film Festival” January 9-14 at IFC Center and the SVA Theatre
Wednesday, January 9 at SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street)
7:00pm “Woke Up This Morning: The Sopranos 20th Anniversary Celebration”
David Chase's HBO series The Sopranos premiered twenty years ago this January, mixing gangsterism, psychiatry, satire, family drama, and dream imagery, jump-starting the next phase of television's evolution, and becoming an object of fascination, analysis and controversy. In an evening of clips and conversation, Chase and others discuss their experiences making a landmark work of popular culture.
In attendance: Series creator and executive producer David Chase, writers and executive producers Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner, executive producer Ilene S. Landress and cast members. Moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz, co-author of The Sopranos Sessions.
Thursday, January 10 at IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue)
7:15pm Not Fade Away (2012, dir. David Chase)
This feature filmmaking debut by David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, returns him to his old stomping grounds, but in a different time period, and with a different energy and focus. It's an emotional autobiography drawing loosely on Chase's experiences. John Magaro stars as Douglas Damiano, an Italian-American New Jersey teenager whose rebellious attitude and obsession with rock-and-roll, art cinema, and the counterculture put him at odds with his working-class, conservative father (James Gandolfini, in one of his final performances). Featuring daringly extended musical numbers in which actor-musicians perform their own music live for the cameras, the movie mixes documentary grit and American New Wave poetry. And it's filled with homages to music, television and movies that inspired The Sopranos, including a scene where Doug and his girlfriend Grace Dietz (Bella Heathcote) go to see Blow-Up (1966), a film whose hushed, mysterious style had a profound influence on Chase that's apparent in the cryptic, unsettling final scenes of both The Sopranos and Not Fade Away.
In attendance: Writer-director David Chase; actor John Magaro; executive producer and music supervisor Steven van Zandt.
10:00pm Performance (1970, dir. Nicolas Roeg & Donald Cammell)
In swinging 1960s London, the volatile, sexually insatiable East End gangster Chas (James Fox) commits a shocking act of violence against a rival and flees for the countryside, where he insinuates himself into the life of a reclusive rock star, suggestively named Turner (Mick Jagger). Co-directed by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell (from a script by Cammell, with photography by Roeg), the film features explicit sex and violence, a freewheeling, propulsive, at times mystifying editing style, and music galore. "English gangsters and rock 'n' roll--what more could you want?"--David Chase
Post-screening discussion with critic Sheila O’Malley of Film Comment, RogerEbert.com and The Criterion Collection; and movie critic and film editor Ian W. Hill. Moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz.
7:30pm “Pine Cones All Around: The Sopranos and the Art of Surprise”
"The Knight in White Satin Armor" sets gang boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) on the path towards a violent confrontation with his arch-nemesis Richie Aprile (David Proval) just as Richie is preparing to marry Tony's hotheaded hippie sister Janice (Aida Turturro). A suspenseful, often outrageously funny hour of TV, the episode is a master class in defying expectations—a skill that the show's writing staff demonstrated time and again, using red herrings, anticlimax, surprise, and reversals of fortune to stay one step ahead of fans. Shown with "Show Biz Bugs” (1957, dir. Friz Freleng) a Looney Tunes classic about a rivalry between vaudevillians Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck that rings the curtain down with comparable verve.
Post screening discussion with Vulture writer and Five Came Back author Mark Harris, moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz.
9:30pm My Dinner with Alan (2019, dir. Kristian Fraga) – World Premiere
On the eve of the publication of their book The Sopranos Sessions, TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz meet at Holsten's in Bloomfield, New Jersey, the location of the controversial last scene of The Sopranos. Their wide-ranging conversation covers television, movies, psychiatry, gangsterism, their 20-year friendship, and their experience covering the series for The Star-Ledger of Newark, the newspaper that Tony Soprano picked up at the end of his driveway. The screening will be followed by a discussion between The Sopranos Sessions co-authors Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz and My Dinner with Alan director Kristian Fraga. A book signing for Seitz and Sepinwall’s book, The Sopranos Sessions (Abrams Press) follows.
Saturday, January 12 at IFC Center
12:00pm Barry Lyndon (1975, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Based on a minor novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, Stanley Kubrick's sprawling, opulent, mordantly funny Barry Lyndon was groundbreaking for its technical advances (including the first 35mm film scenes shot entirely with candlelight) and for its merciless portrait of a society suffocated by ritual, protocol and ironclad codes of honor. The film was a key influence on David Chase's The Sopranos, which depicts a modern world that's more base and profane than Barry's, but governed by an equally intricate code that's just as likely to require the death penalty for rule-breakers. Post-
screening discussion with Matt Zoller Seitz and Bilge Ebiri, a film critic and writer for New York magazine/Vulture.
5:00pm “Poor You: Gangsters, Mothers and The Sopranos”
With screening of The Public Enemy (1931, dir. William A. Wellman) + "Proshai, Livushka" (2001)
In the pilot episode of "The Sopranos," North Jersey gang boss Tony Soprano enters therapy with Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) to cope with panic attacks brought on by his anxiety about his cruel and manipulative mother Livia (Nancy Marchand). Tony never entirely escapes his mother's clutches even after she dies, the aftermath of which is chronicled in the classic season three installment "Proshai, Livushka." The tragedy sparks one of the greatest gatherings of a series that was at its best showing how family members claw at each other even when they're leaning on one another for support. "Proshai, Livushka" will be screened as part of a double feature with the William A. Wellman thriller The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney as a gangster whose expressions of mother-love, unlike Tony's, are fully reciprocated. Tony watches the movie throughout "Proshai, Livushka," in mourning not just for what he lost, but for what he never had. This unique double feature will be capped with a discussion of family relations as depicted on The Sopranos. Panelists: Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins; RogerEbert.com critic and Big Media Vandalism publisher Odie Henderson; Dr. Lisa Tischler, NY State Licensed Clinical Psychologist and specialist in anxiety control. Moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz.
8:30pm Goodfellas (1990, dir. Martin Scorsese)
In modest suburban houses and apartments throughout greater New York City, gangsters pose as ordinary citizens, shooting, knifing and betraying each other in pursuit of a fast buck. Is it The Sopranos? No, it's Goodfellas, a gangland saga from director Martin Scorsese and journalist-turned-
screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (adapting his book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family) and an acknowledged influence on David Chase's long-running HBO drama. You can see traces of Scorsese and Pileggi's masterpiece in the show's dynamic use of pop music, its blending of ultraviolence, social commentary and ghastly slapstick, and most of all, its casting. Nearly 30 actors appear in both productions, from stars like Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli to such supporting players as Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent, Tony Lip, Suzanne Shepherd, Tony Darrow and Chuck Low. Introduced by Matt Zoller Seitz
Sunday, January 13 at IFC Center
12:00pm Trees Lounge (1996, dir. Steve Buscemi)
Actor Steve Buscemi's first feature film as a writer-director made such a big impression on Sopranos creator David Chase that he says it should be considered one of the single biggest contemporary influences on the series outside of Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas). Chase hired the film's casting directors Georgianne Walken and Sheila Jaffe to cast his show, gave Buscemi four episodes to direct ("Pine Barrens," "In Camelot," "Marco Polo," "Mr. and Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request"), and made him a regular in season five (as Tony Soprano's cousin Tony B) and a bit player in season six (as a menacing spirit). But the movie is a still-largely unsung masterpiece in its own right, following an alcoholic loser (Buscemi) as he stumbles through life, occasionally trying to pull himself together but always falling apart again. Along with Big Night, another American indie classic released the same year, it has one of the simplest but most affecting final shots in all of '90s cinema. In attendance: Steve Buscemi.
2:45pm “Stooges With Guns: The Bloody Slapstick of The Sopranos”
With screening of "Pine Barrens" (2001) + The Three Stooges short Idiots Deluxe (1945, dir. Jules White)
Close to the platonic ideal of a Sopranos episode, season three's woodland fantasia "Pine Barrens"—aka The One with the Russian—is one of the best showcases of the series' fondness for broad, often incredibly violent slapstick. In the writers' room, creator David Chase and his staff (including "Pine Barrens" scripter Terence Winter) often discussed slapstick performers from earlier eras, including Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges. The latter are represented by the 1945 comedy short "Idiot's Deluxe," wherein Moe, Larry and Curly go camping in the woods and are menaced by a bear.
Introduced by episode director Steve Buscemi. Post-screening Q&A with Buscemi and episode writer/series executive producer Terence Winter.
With screening of "The Test Dream" (2004) + Un Chien Andalou (1929, dir. Luis Buñuel)
Like The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks before it, The Sopranos was fascinated by the visual language of dreams, and often used it to explore the subconscious minds of its characters—especially gang boss Tony Soprano (James Gandofini). Tony's therapy sessions with Lorraine Bracco's Dr. Melfi enabled him to interpret his own dreams, granting him insight into his own tortured psyche. He rarely acted on this information in ways that improved his relationships with family members or made him a happier person in the long term; he was more likely to use it to figure out who to whack next. Luckily, the show's scrutiny of dreams and dream language was as insightful and wide-ranging as Tony's was crude and self-serving. From season one's "Isabella" through season two's "Funhouse," season three's "Employee of the Month" and season five's dazzling "The Test Dream" (written by Matthew Weiner), the series presented surreal subconscious imagery in alternately terrifying, comical, haunting and startling ways. And in such episodes as "From Where to Eternity," "Proshai, Livushka," "Join the Club" and "Mayham" they make us wonder if dreams and the afterlife are somehow connected.
Panelists: Matt Zoller Seitz; New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons; David Gutman, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Co-Director of the New York ADHD Center.
7:45pm Cul-de-Sac (1966, dir. Roman Polanski)
Roman Polanski's bleak and brutal comedy starts with an American gangster (Lionel Stander) and his gut-shot partner (Jack McGowan) seeking refuge after a botched robbery with a meek Englishman (Donald Pleasance) and his sexy French wife (Françoise Dorléac), who live in an isolated castle. The movie then becomes a hostage drama, a quasi-sex farce and a study of contrasting social classes and world views, each scene weirder than the next. Beloved by Sopranos creator David Chase for its pitch-black sense of humor, Cul-de-Sac is also a timeless portrait of small-minded people tearing into each other instead of facing themselves—a feast of dysfunction worthy of Livia herself. Introduced by Matt Zoller Seitz
Monday, January 14 at IFC Center
8:00pm Blow-Up (1966, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni)
Based on a Julio Cortazar short story, this elliptical murder mystery was Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English language feature as well as his first commercial hit. It was also an early high watermark in the tradition of philosophically-minded, rock-and-sex saturated arthouse movies with endings that viewers could spend all night arguing about. David Hemmings stars as a swingin' London fashion photographer who wonders if he's accidentally captured a murder on film, but finds that he can't get any closer to solving the mystery no matter how many hours he spends in the darkroom. The film's final scene was analyzed as a political statement, a metaphor for the subjectivity of perception, evidence of a psychotic break, and possibly proof that the director didn't have the slightest clue how to end the movie and decided to do something fancy and obscure and hope that nobody called him on it. The Sopranos ending was described as all of those things and more. Series creator David Chase cites it as a key component of his sensibility, and paid tribute to it in his 1960s period piece Not Fade Away, which includes a scene where the two main characters watch Antonioni's film in a theater and discuss its use of music and silence. Introduced by Matt Zoller Seitz
Additional festival events to be announced.