It was unseasonably warm in NYC on June 5th, as Iron Mule fans gathered in the air-conditioning of the 92YTribeca screening room for another night of short comedy films. Jay and Victor started off the night with updates about their latest projects -- Victor is working on a comedy concert feature called Tell Your Friends, and Jay was gearing up for a photo shoot and test shoot for his new feature The Adventures of Paul and Marian.
Then we brought up our special guest judge, screenwriter Will Rokos. We talked about short films -- Will is a fan and impressed by how economical and simple shorts can be as opposed to features. He talked about his own work a little bit (he tends to write intense dramas rather than comedies, although he loves comedies and has one potentially in the works) and announced that he's just been hired to join the writing team of Southland for their next season.
Then on to the films! The first was Delivery Date, by New Mexican filmmaker Matthew Page. This film tells the story about a man who finds an unexpected surprise on a blind date. Nice production values, a decent, full story, and stand-out performances by the two charming leads were the stand out qualities of this film.
Our next block of films featured Hälkke 9, a 1950's commercial spoof from the UK by filmmaker Richard Jung, the surprising and high-production-value film from North Carolinian filmmaker Kenneth Price, The Late Mr. Mokun Williams, and Atlanta-based Beth Fulton's interpretation of a poem written and performed by screenwriter Todd Alcott, Television is a Drug.
Our final block were three animated films: Sharon Colman's Oscar-nominated Badgered, a tale of a badger who just wants to be left alone to hibernate (from the UK), Sijia Luo's outlandishly cute Kidnap (from California), and the impressively structured film by local animator Aaron Hughes, Backwards, which is told backwards, from finish to start. Aaron was in attendance so we brought him and his producer Lisa LaBracio up for a brief interview. We talked about how Aaron made the film (partly backwards, partly forwards) and discussed how animators, alone in a dark room, labor for months without feedback so they often have no idea if their movies work at all. Luckily, Aaron and Lisa's movie works wonderfully.
Then, the audience placed their vote for audience favorite, and while the votes were tallied, we screened this month's "Wanna Be a Star" movie starring audience member Willa Jaffe, who traveled all the way from Philadelphia to star in the movie and again to attend the screening. This film was directed by Iron Mule producer Jay Stern, and the audience-determined title was Jesus Pot Pie.
Then it was up to guest judge Will Rokos to announce the winners: audience favorite (our first ever tie!) was Delivery Date and Television is a Drug, and the judges' award went to Backwards. This was a particularly hard month for our audience to determine their favorite film we were told afterwards, since they all were quite good and all very different.
After the awards were announced, filmmakers and fans moved into the cafe for our after party where fun was had by all!