IFC Center today announced an impressive and wide-ranging lineup for the third annual Split Screens Festival ( taking place Wednesday, May 29 through Monday, June 3, 2019, at the IFC Center in New York City. The festival consists of special events offering a variety of looks at history, identity and the mystery of existence itself, including panels on series that explore dystopian realities and alternate timelines, and screenings that transport us into any number of time periods and places, be it a late-1800s South Dakota town or the height of 1980s ballroom culture in New York City.

Tickets to the public go on sale today for exclusive screenings and compelling panel conversations featuring the biggest and boldest names in scripted content, both in front of and behind the camera.

For the third edition of the event, notable Salon TV critic Melanie McFarland was named Co-Creative Director, joining founding Co-Creative Director Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine’s TV critic and best-selling author. The festival will once again be anchored by four signature pillars: PREMIERES, an opportunity for audiences to be among the first to screen anticipated season premieres and finales; CLOSE-UP, conversations with celebrated actors and creatives; TV TALK, an exploration of content’s cultural impact through the lens of superfans, pop culture writers and experts; plus a number of SPECIAL EVENTS.

On Saturday, June 1 at 5:30 PM, Split Screens will explore the life and career of pioneering writer, producer, director and advocate Janet Mock. Mock made history as the first trans woman of color to write and direct an episode of television with the landmark script for Love Is the Message from FX’s critically-acclaimed Pose. Following a special screening of the monumental episode and a thoughtful conversation with Seitz, Mock will be presented with the 2019 Vanguard Award. David Chase was the first Vanguard honoree in 2017, followed by Sandra Oh in 2018 – an award honoring those who have significantly advanced the evolution of TV storytelling.

Festival highlights include: CLOSE-UP conversations with Pamela Adlon, executive producer, writer, director and star of FX’s Better Things; William Jackson Harper, star of the philosophy-themed NBC comedy The Good Place; Christopher Abbott, star of Hulu’s Catch-22; a deep dive into the art of the paranoid thriller with Sam Esmail, creator of USA’s Mr. Robot and director of Amazon’s Homecoming, with a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut; and Leslye Headland, co-creator and co-executive producer of Netflix’s hit series Russian Doll, will anchor a panel of creative professionals who helped bring the world of Russian Doll to life.

Festival attendees will also enjoy Deadwood: The Movie Viewing Party, a chance to experience the epic conclusion of HBO’s legendary Western series on the big screen along with a half-hour Deadwood companion doc written by Matt Zoller Seitz; an advance screening of the season 3 premiere of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a sneak preview of Ava DuVernay’s highly anticipated Central Park 5 Netflix miniseries When They See Us; the season 1 finale of Cinemax’s Warrior; a live-watch of the fifth season premiere of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and a panel featuring cast along with Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer of Fear the Walking Dead and Chief Content Officer of the Walking Dead Universe; an advance screening of the season 2 premiere of CBS’s Instinct, with co-stars Alan Cumming & Bojana Novakovic; a conversation with key cast and creative talent of OWN’s Queen Sugar, following an advance screening of the season 4 premiere; a fan appreciation panel of influential female characters, (S)heroes: Women of Action!; and a conversation with TV critics about the ways in which the craft of storytelling has transformed in an age increasingly dominated by streaming platforms.

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.

Split Screens Festival is made possible by Event Sponsors FX and National Geographic; Friends of the Festival include Essentia, PTEX and Wheelhouse Creative.

Venue and Ticket information:

● All festival events take place at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. (at West 3rd St), with the exception of Deadwood: The Movie Viewing Party on May 31, which screens at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St.

● Tickets for all events are available online at or at the IFC Center box office, open daily 10:30am-10:00pm. Same-day tickets for Deadwood: The Movie Viewing Party will also be available at the SVA Theatre box office starting at 6:30pm on May 31.

● Tickets for the TV Talk events on June 1 are $12 general admission / $9 IFC Center members

● Tickets for all other festival events are $17 general admission / $14 IFC Center members

● A discounted 3-ticket pack is available for $40/$35 IFC Center members.


8:00 PM – Is it Safe? Sam Esmail on Mr. Robot, Homecoming and the Paranoid Thriller – CLOSE-UP

In attendance: Sam Esmail – Event includes a screening of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut

No movie genre better expresses the creeping dread of modern life than the paranoid thriller, a mode where the heroes are marginalized, truth is elusive, and justice is deferred or denied. The genre arose in the chaos of the 1960s and ’70s, and thrived for a period of about fifteen years, producing such classics as Blow-Up, Klute, The Parallax View, The Conversation, Marathon Man, Three Days of the Condor, All the President’s Men, and Blow-Out.

One of its most devoted disciples is Sam Esmail, a writer-director who has produced two TV series in a similar vein, USA’s Golden Globe® award winning hacker drama Mr. Robot and Amazon’s military conspiracy thriller Homecoming (adapted from the hit podcast). In “Is it Safe?”—named after the mysterious phrase repeated by the villain of Marathon Man—Esmail takes the Split Screens audience on a tour of the genre, from the distant past through the present day, and its influence on his own work. The event will end with a 35mm screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 masterwork, the ultra-paranoid Eyes Wide Shut.