Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Notes from our May 1st Screening

Filmmakers and film lovers gathered once again on the evening of Saturday, May 1st, for an evening of short comedy films at 92YTribeca.

Jay and Victor began the show announcing this week's DVD release of The Awkward Comedy Show, which Victor directed and Jay produced.

Then Jay tried out his pitch for his new movie The Adventures of Paul and Marian.  He has a fundraising event coming up and needed the chance to try out his pitch in front of strangers.  That's just one of the perks of running your own festival.

Next the hosts introduced this month's extra special guest judge, Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan.  Victor got to ask Elliott what Jon Stewart smells like, and Elliott told a story about being fired from a newspaper for being too funny.

Then we introduced a very special guest, red carpet reporter Doug Hyde, who was in town from LA and agreed to serve as our interviewer for the night.  Doug told us a little about his job and shared a story about being yelled at by a celebrity.  He certainly brought a welcome dose of Hollywood class and sparkle to the show, and his interviews with the filmmakers were top notch.  More on that below.

Now it was time for the films.  First up was Susan Hippen's movie Me, Myself, and Your Husband, a film about a woman who feels pressure to get pregnant and enlists her brother-in-law to do the honors, much to the dissatisfaction of her sister.  In the interview following the film, expertly done by Doug Hyde (certainly putting Jay and Victor to shame), Susan talked about the difficulties of casting two women who looked like sisters and who were also solid actors and comedians.  She also talked about how lovely it was to work in HD, which she did for the first time with this movie.

Next up was a block of two films, Thomas De Napoli's Hipster Job, a Williamsburg adaptation of the Biblical tale of suffering, and Kriota Willberg's dance extravaganza Sunscreen Serenade.  In the Doug Hyde interview following the screening, Kriota talked about her work as a choreographer and how she used a nice grant to both make this film and hire dancers for a good rate, who in her film didn't have anything to do but dress their fingers up with paper dolls and have them dance around a table.

We checked in with Elliott at this point, who is a Busby Berkeley fan and appreciated Kriota's Berkeley-inspired choreography and cinematography.

Next we introduced our old friend Will Carlough, with a new Carlough Brothers film.  In typical laid-back fashion, Will presented his movie, part film, part live performance.  You can see a video version of the whole thing here, but Will's work is really unique when you get a chance to see him do it live.

Next up was our commercial block: the spoof pharmaceutical commercial Fellayshe-O from Maine filmmaker Ritchie Wilson, Dats Hats, a parody of Tom's Shoes by LA-based Mario Kyprianou, and RPF: We Pitch Dallas BBQ, a movie showing the worst ad agency powerpoint pitch ever, from our old friend Thom Woodley.

In the Doug-Hyde-run interview with Mario (in from LA for the screening) and Thom, the filmmakers spoke about their experience in the actual ad world, and Mario mentioned what happened when the Tom's Shoes people saw his spoof (they didn't like it).  But we did, and we checked in with guest judge Elliott, who was enjoying himself thoroughly.

Our final block of movies for the night were two animated films,  Signe Baumane's The Very First Desire Now and Forever and Peter Ahern's Down to the Bone.

Signe's movie is intended to be a very philosophical and meaningful film about mankind's struggle for satisfaction from the very first moment of birth, and she was shocked to learn that the film was banned from YouTube because of perceived sexual content.  The film shows a baby being thwarted in his attempt to suckle his mother's breast, and Signe said that the fact that someone sexualized that moment says a lot more about that person than it says about the film.  You can see the movie (now on another YouTube channel) and judge for yourself.

Peter's Down to the Bone is another film about childhood, quite disturbing, but staying (just) on the line of not too disturbing.  Signe pointed out that the film just made the finals for the student Oscars!  She's an Academy member, so she should know.

Peter's film was made the old fashioned way; he drew each frame and scanned them one by one into the computer.  It was great to see a young filmmaker who prefers to work this way, and Peter's attention to detail really shows in the film.

Then the competition was over, and we showed our last film of the evening, our 700th film nonetheless, dp's Funky Kimono, this month's "Wanna be a Star" movie, starring audience member Amber Kain.  As the spokesperson for a store selling the funkiest of kimonos, Amber Kain lit up the screen and held her own with dp's collection of high caliber comic talent.

After this movie, Elliott Kalan announced the winners: audience favorite went to Down to the Bone, and the judges' prize went to Me, Myself, and Your Husband.  Then it was off to the after party, where we closed the 92YTribeca cafe and went to SoHo for food and drink where we mingled and talked movies until the wee hours.

So a special thanks to the filmmakers, special guests, and audience members who made for such a memorable show, and our condolences to the many audience members who were trapped on the subway for an hour due to the police shut down of Time Square.  Sorry you missed the show, but we look forward to seeing you at our next show on June 5th!

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