IFC Center celebrates the second annual Split Screens Festival (www.splitscreensfestival.com) taking place Wednesday, May 30 through Sunday, June 3, 2018, at the IFC Center in New York City. Throughout the week, the festival will host a series of special events celebrating the art and craft of TV with exclusive screenings and compelling panel conversations featuring the biggest and boldest names in scripted content, both in front of and behind the camera.
Curated for the second consecutive year by one of television's biggest fans, noted author and critic Matt Zoller Seitz, the festival will be anchored by four signature categories: PREMIERES, an opportunity for audiences to be among the first to screen anticipated new episodes of acclaimed series; CLOSE-UP, one-on-one conversations with celebrated actors; REWIND, revisiting an iconic episode of television via a screening and discussion; TV TALK, an exploration of content’s cultural impact through the lens of directors, superfans, pop culture writers and experts; plus a number of SPECIAL EVENTS.
We had a chat with Matt Zoller Seitz, here are the excerpts
What inspired you to start a TV festival?
John Vanco and Harris Dew approached me about it last spring. They said they thought the time was right to start a television festival at IFC Center and asked if I would lead the programming side. I wanted to do something that was more specifically focused on the craft of it, since festivals with catch-all panels are becoming more widespread. I think that granular focus on the choices that artists make is what separates us from the others. And so in the first year we did things like analyze particular episodes of great shows, like the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos, and ask Rami Malek of Mr. Robot to break down his own performance in terms of what he does with his body and voice from scene to scene, using clips to illustrate what he's talking about.
You are in your second year. How was the experience of planning and programming different this year?
We have a better sense of what works and what doesn't, so that's allowed us to refine things a bit. We're using even more audiovisual material than we did last year, to the point where certain sessions are going to feel as if you're watching a documentary film being made in real time.
What events are you most excited for?
I'd say probably "Damn Fine Coffee: Twin Peaks Fan Theories," where we invited seven obsessive super-fans of Twin Peaks to show videos and slide presentations articulation their grand unifying theories of David Lynch and Mark Frost's masterpiece. I also have soft spots for the programs on Rhea Seehorn, who's the emotional anchor of Better Call Saul, and Jeffrey Wright, who's doing amazing work on Westworld, and The Outer Limits, a 1960s anthology show that's as great as the Twilight Zone, but that not enough people know about.
Tell us about the Vanguard Award and how you picked the recipient this year?
Killing Eve star Sandra Oh is receiving the Vanguard Award, which is given to an individual who changed television. The first recipient was David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, which rewrote the rules of television drama. Oh was our pick this year because of the electrifying effect of her performances, which broke out of the circumscribed roles that are often given to Asian-American women and created something galvanizing and inspiring. Killing Eve is the culmination of everything she's been working toward. She told Vulturerecently it's the result of 30 years of hard work that defies expectations.
What's your favorite TV shows, currently on TV, and why?
It's hard to choose. There's so much good stuff on! Right now I'd have to say Dear White People, Atlanta, The Americans (which just ended), and Billions.
ABOUT SPLIT SCREENS FESTIVAL
Split Screens Festival (www.splitscreensfestival.com) 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. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @SplitScreensTV. Here are few of the important events:
THURSDAY, MAY 31
7:00 PM – SMART TV: THE MANY FACES OF JEAN SMART – CLOSE-UP
In attendance: Actor Jean Smart
FRIDAY, JUNE 1
1:00 PM – THE AMERICANS: THE FINAL DEBRIEFING (FX) – SPECIAL EVENT
In attendance: Series creator and executive producer Joe Weisberg; executive producer Joel Fields
6:00 PM – MONEY IN THE BANK: DAVID COSTABILE IN “BILLIONS” (Showtime) – CLOSE-UP
In attendance: Actor David Costabile
7:30 PM – ACTING MACHINE: WESTWORLD’S JEFFREY WRIGHT (HBO) – CLOSE-UP
In attendance: Actor Jeffrey Wright
SATURDAY, JUNE 2
5:00 PM – MR. AUTHENTICITY: THOMAS HADEN CHURCH FROM SIDEWAYS TO DIVORCE (HBO) – CLOSE-UP
In attendance: Actor Thomas Haden Church
6:30 PM - STREETS OF GLASS: SNOWFALL'S EPIC CRIME DRAMA (FX) – PREMIERE
In attendance: Co-creator/showrunner/executive producer/writer Dave Andron; consulting producer/writer Walter Mosley, star/”Franklin Saint”Damson Idris
SUNDAY, JUNE 3
3:00 PM – VANGUARD AWARD: SANDRA OH – SPECIAL EVENT
With a special screening of Killing Eve’s Episode 1, “Nice Face” (BBC AMERICA)
In attendance: Actress Sandra Oh
6:45 PM – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: THE BITTERSWEET MAGIC OF YOUNGER (TV Land) – PREMIERE
In attendance: Actors Debi Mazar, Nico Tortorella and Charles Michael Davis; Executive Producer Dottie Zicklin
8:30 PM – KIM’S TURN: RHEA SEEHORN IN BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC) – CLOSE-UP
In attendance: Actor Rhea Seehorn
ABOUT IFC CENTER
IFC Center is a five-screen, state-of-the-art cinema in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village that opened in June 2005 following an extensive renovation of the historic Waverly Theater. Headed by Senior VP and General Manager John Vanco, IFC Center presents the very best in new foreign-language, American independent and documentary features to audiences and is also known for its innovative repertory series and festivals, showing short films before its regular features in the ongoing “Short Attention Span Cinema” program, and special events such as the guest-programmed “Movie Nights” and frequent in-person appearances by filmmakers. In 2010, IFC Center launched the acclaimed DOC NYC festival, a high-profile showcase that celebrates nonfiction filmmaking and is now the largest documentary festival in the US. For additional theater information, current and upcoming program details and more, visit http://www.ifccenter.com/.