On Sunday night, Hollywood put on the glamor as awards were announced for the Los Angeles Comedy Shorts Film Festival, at Elevate Lounge, 22 stories above the lights of LA.
Festival Artistic Director Gary Anthony Williams opened with, “All we wanted to do is make it okay for America to laugh their butts off at things that are short and funny. We did it. Now this country is safe again. You can thank us later. No. Wait. Thank us now.”
Williams then turned over MC duties to the Sklar Brothers (Cheap Seats, Wild Hogs) who presided over the presentation of over $30,000 in cash and prizes in the following categories: The Funny or Die Best-of-Fest Grand Prize, Atom.com Best Comedy Short Film (30 minutes or less), Best Comedy ‘Shortie’ Short (5 minutes or less) and Atom.com Best Animated Comedy Short (30 minutes or less), as well as the Audience Choice Award.
The Festival also honored actress Missi Pyle, who received the 2nd Annual COMMIE AWARD in recognition of her comedic genius, presented by her friend and co-star Brooke Dillman.
Presenters and attendees included Aisha Tyler (CSI, The Ghost Whisperer), Dave Koechner (The Office, Funny Or Die), Cedric Yarbrough,Thomas Lennon, and Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!), Michaela Watkins (SNL), Nicole Parker and Jordan Peele (MadTV), Karen Maruyama (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Larry Joe Campbell (Weeds, According to Jim), Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks), Maurice LaMarche (Futurama), Tara Strong (Powerpuff Girls), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants), and Jill Talley (The Boondocks).
Awards went to:
Best Comedy Shortie-Short: Traffic Signals, directed by Lori Elberg and Tanya Bershadsky, a guide to road rage for the hearing-impaired.
Atom.com Best Comedy Short: Blood From a Stone, directed by Bill Palmer, a satire of the Arnold, Sly, Dolph, and Chuck action movies of the 1980s.
Atom.com Best Comedy Animated Short: The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger by Bill Plympton, which shows that even cows can have dreams that go tragically wrong.
Funny or Die Best-of-Fest : The Action Hero's Guide to Saving Lives directed by Justin Lutsky, starring Patrick Warburton, took us behind the scenes of Ace Mulligan’s perilous and not-always-successful mission to stop the bad guys, get the girl, and save the day. It’s not always easy being an action hero.
L.A. Comedy Shorts Audience Award: A Short Film, by Rick Williamson, starring Marty Klebba, is the epitome of a short western film: short actors, short horses, and long credits.
The Winners of the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival Screenplay Competition presented by Movie Magic Screenwriter, were:
LA Comedy Scripts Best Comedy Short: Cuckoo by Kristi Barnett about what can happen when the clocks on your wall won't play ball.
Movie Magic Screenwriter Screenplay Competition Best Comedy Feature : Super Fun Time Happy Pizza by Dennis Xenos and Rob Nardecchia, brings together, romance, revenge, conspiracy, and pepperoni.
LA Comedy Scripts Best Half-Hour Comedy TV Pilot: Upstate by Charlie Robinson, tells of a New York City politico who loses his job in a scandal and is forced to take a job upstate where he quickly learns the meaning of community.
The festival, held at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles, brought together the newest and hottest comedic talent in a fun-packed weekend of screenings, parties, industry panels, and star-studded red carpet events. The staff was friendly and helpful and I’m already looking forward to next year.