The 2010 edition of the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival (LACSFF) begins Thursday, April 15, with a red carpet kick-off at the Downtown Independent Theatre. The festival will spotlight 74 short films in competition, including international entries from Norway, the UK, Australia, and Canada. The celebrity and the bling will ignite the LA night in a few days, but festival organizers have been working hard for months to make sure every detail and cupcake are in place.
Festival Director Jeannie Roshar and Artistic Director Gary Anthony Williams filled me in on the preparations. When not organizing world class movie shindigs, Jeannine acts, writes, and produces. Her most recent credits include Tripping Forward (2009) and the just completed Boston Girls. Gary appeared as a series regular on Boston Legal, and as Abe Kenarbin on Malcolm in the Middle. His films include Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Martin Short’s improvised feature La La Wood, Undercover Brother, and Soul Plane.
The festival received great reviews last year. Moviemaker Magazine included it as one of the “25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” and it was honored as one of the "Top Ten Film Festivals in the U.S." by the Brooks Institute. Are you worried about a sophomore jinx?
Gary: We have many worries. Jeannie keeps having dreams that we play all the wrong films and the stairs are broken so no one can get to the rooftop for the parties. I worry that my good side might look too good and people will ignore my less-than-good side. As far as the worry of whether or not we'll be as good as we were last year, we can't really afford that. All we can do is show the funniest films we can find, have the greatest parties we can put together and share in some Short Comedy Love.
Jeannie: Well… no. And this is why: we have four times the alcohol sponsors this year. And you don't have to be great at math to know that is at least 16 times the fun. Also, we had over 38% more submissions to review this year. We didn't get to rest on our laurels at all. We didn't even get to rest on a divan, a davenport, or a nice bean bag chair. If you don't have a good time, you might be allergic to fun.
Your web site says that the mission and objective of the festival is "introducing the newest and hottest comedic talent to the industry, and help them make the connections they need to take their careers to the next level." Any success stories from last year?
Gary: Our audience Winner, A Bit of Counseling, went on to air on Comedy Central. That's a nice thing. I believe the Best of Fest Winner has a Canadian TV deal. Many of our winners went on to win other festivals. We'd like to think we discovered them. We'd also like to think the moon is made of delicious custard. Both statements, by the way, are totally true.
Jeannie: In fact, that's what has now led Atom to create an online showdown of the 2010 LA Comedy Shorts films on Atom.com immediately following the festival.
What's new at the festival this year?
Jeannie : Other than the fresh crop of gut-busting films, the fresher game of Celebrity Beer Pong, and the freshest faces of funny-folks like Julie Bowen, Michael Jai White, Missi Pyle, Mark Hamill, and Bob Odenkirk, all the films in this year's festival are eligible to be a part of an exclusive contest with Atom.com. One of them will be chosen to appear on Comedy Central, guaranteed. It's all part of the new deal between LA Comedy Shorts and Atom.com. In another deal, Digital College Network will be taking our 2010 Best of Fest on the road to college campuses all over this great country of ours.
What are you personally looking forward to the most?
Gary: I'm looking forward to meeting these filmmakers and watching them hook up with Funny or Die, Atom.com and Digital College Network. I'm also looking forward to laughing and partying and listening to the crowd enjoy the films that we've been laughing at for months now. I love a good gaffaw. No matter how you spell it.
Jeannie: I’ll be watching the big men in the little shorts dance around at the "Beefcakes and Cupcakes" party Thursday night.
Any surprises planned?
Gary: Well, that would kill the surprise wouldn't it, Mr. Sneaky Pants?
He’s got me there. Check back Friday for more fun from LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival 2010.