Not all the films that showed at the Anthem Film Festival, which ran this year from July 13-16 at the Mirage in Las Vegas, were serious examinations into its themes: “Individuality, Accountability, Choice.” Some were quite funny, even when dealing with the COVID lockdown.
We all receive endless messages online and on cable about “serious issues.” Sometimes, however, humor is the best way to reach people and make your more serious point. I found four films at Anthem that made me laugh while delivering a message.
You might be thinking, “Wait, there’s nothing funny about COVID!”
But how we dealt with the social distancing during lockdown inspired filmmaker Kels Goodman to wonder how dating continued for people who couldn’t meet in person. His film Quarantine for Two, which won the Best Feature Narrative Award, explores the craziness of virtual dating during the lockdown.
Chase, played by Mason D. Davis, talks with a buddy (over the phone) about the buddy’s sister, Kenzie. A misdirected text opens a whole new world for Chase and Kenzie, played by Whitney Palmer (Yellowstone, The Road Home for Christmas), who becomes his new lady friend.
Both Davis and Palmer give incredibly charming and hilarious performances as their characters try to find ways to connect without violating the quarantine. You can watch the film’s trailer below and find out where to see the film at JustWatch.
Gunpoint, Begging, and Heck
Sometimes, comedy titles sound so serious, like Gunpoint. It does start out serious. When we see a man at a homeowner’s front door pointing a gun at him, it looks like it could get very dark. But then we discover that the armed intruder only wants 35 cents. And he’s from the government. You’ll have to guess where this goes, but looking at one of your utility bills might give you a hint. Gunpoint won Anthem’s Best Comedy and Best Overall Short Narrative awards.
The Beggar and the Road Kid, winner of the Spreading Light Award, takes off from the all-too-common occurrence of two people begging and confronting one another with, “Hey, this is my side of the street.” An old beggar on one side of the street and a young vagabond hitchhiker on the other begin to compete for attention and dollars. Hmmm, competition in America. Where could this lead? Find out on Vimeo.
The comedy sub-genre of parody also found a spot at Anthem in the form of Parks and Heck. The satire of the characters from the popular series Parks and Recreation are amazing. In this film, we see Chelsea Yep (Leslie Knope?) fighting to impose a streetlamp utility fee on the town and being opposed by a Libertarian think tank. Sometimes local government is the funniest government of all. The producers, Libertas Institute, plan to release Parks and Heck in September.
More Anthem Films
The Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, has become my favorite venue for finding challenging, fun, and important films. You can find out more about Anthem, including info on all their films, at their website and Facebook page.