Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Notes from our December 6th Screening

For those who braved the cold and rain last Saturday, there was a warm glow of laughter to be found in our recent showcase of short comedy films. After host Jay Stern excoriated New Yorkers for being weather wimps (and co-host Victor Varnado politely pointed out that present company was of course excepted), we launched into our first block of films.

Starting off the holiday-themed mayhem was a film from the Iron Mule vaults, "White Blood Cell Saves Christmas," an animated short by Dano Johnson. As for what it's about, well, the title says it all. (If you want to check out this or any of our other selections, click here for our archives.) Following that was our very first (and hopefully not our last!) holiday film in Gaelic, "Nollaig Shona (Happy Christmas)" by Orla Murphy. Christmas is not so happy for the protagonist, who gets dumped on Christmas Eve and has to console himself with an overdecorated tree and a persistent stray dog. And concluding the holiday trio was a celebration of "Balls," in all the different forms they take, by Iron Mule favorites dpShorts. Filmmakers dp and Kasey Williamson were on hand to talk about the film, their second in a prolific year-long collaboration that also brought us Audience Award-winner, "My Apartment." They'll be back next month with one more short, "The Lake."

Moving beyond the seasonally-appropriate, our next film was by another Iron Mule alum, Josh Bass ("The Ninjews," "Debt Consolidated"). An epic of no-budget satire, "Joey & Jerome's Artistic Meaningful Independent Film," shows just how easy it is to crank out your very own Oscar-bait Indiewood masterpiece in under 3 hours. This was followed by "Knock Knock," our third of four films by Jack Ferry. The movie, a suspenseful mindgame starring comedians Pete & Brian about a joke with a potentially lethal punchline, has shown at CineVegas, Slamdance and SXSW, and we were honored to have it in our program as well. Jack was on hand to talk about how the film came to be; he said he heard the first few lines -- "Knock Knock," "Who's there?" "I'm seriously thinking about killing myself." -- and was sold.

Our last block of films began with our second film from France, "Yulia," by Antoine Arditti, an animated black-and-white film about a woman's surreal adventures in a room full of levers, and which one will bring her to love. And in closing, Iron Mule stalwart Will Carlough shared his latest with us, "Hungover Movie Pitch." Much like our first film of the evening, everything you need to know is in the title as Will skewers the usual criteria for pitching a Hollywood blockbuster, and the pitifully unprepared condition you can do it in and still be successful.

Before moving on to our Wanna Be A Star? film for the month (for more information, click here), hosts Jay & Victor shared war stories about their respective no-budget super-fast feature films which were shot during the last month over 1 (Jay) and 3 (Victor) days. See previous entries on the blog for more details and photos. For those keeping score at home, this officially means that Jay has met Victor's challenge from last February and will not need to host this February's show naked. The audience heaved a sigh, but it was hard to tell whether it was in relief or disappointment.

Then came "Shedge," directed by 92YTribeca programmer and Iron Mule BFF Cristina Cacioppo, and starring Wanna Be A Star? winner Ellia Bisker. Our first WBAS? movie shot on film, "Shedge" follows a hapless misanthrope and her encounter with a mysterious rock star. After discussing the difficulties of shooting on Super-8 in a dimly-lit concert space and editing in camera, the ballot counting was complete and we were ready to announce our winners.

The Audience Award for the night went to "Yulia," and the Judges Award was given to "Knock Knock." Congratulations Antoine and Jack! And join us Jan. 2nd for more by Jack Ferry, dpShorts, the latest episode of the hit web series, All's Faire, and other fun surprises.

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