Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Notes from our December 4th screening

Hello and welcome, Iron Mule fans!

This last Saturday we welcomed back many old Iron Mule friends, and also some new ones, for our monthly showcase of the best in short comedy films.  This month, as host Jay Stern explained, we tried a little something different: sampling work from a couple of different web series, interspersed with a few other odds and holiday-specific ends.

But first up, host Victor Varnado shared a trailer for the new "not-quite-reality" series he's producing.  The show follows a group of contestants engaged in Live Action Role Playing (LARP), which looks a lot like real life Dungeons & Dragons, in the woods, without dice.  It also looks like a lot of fun to watch.

Priming the pump for holiday season, local actor and Christmas Carol officianado Craig Wichman introduced his film, "A Christmas Carol in 8 Minutes," featuring every imaginable big- and small-screen version of the classic Dickens tale.  Craig shared some of his knowledge of the many liberties taken with adapting the novel to the screen, and host Victor was particularly smitten with the oft-repeated phrase, "Look under my robe!" which he proceeded to oft-repeat as well.

For our first block of films, we began with a new series by Iron Mule BFF, Dale Goodson, entitled "Things Could Be Worse," an animated series which takes an irreverent look at the debate over health care.  In between the three episodes of this series, we also presented Lake Cop II: Ripple Effect, a mock trailer by Graeme Morgan and Brent Cooper about a vigilante lakeside policeman that is now being made into a feature, and the first episode of another series previously seen at Iron Mule -- Old People News.  The latest iteration of this series, entitled "Tech Report" and created for Atom.com by Kevin Maher, stars Lynne Rogers and Arthur Anderson as the titular Old People, reporting on some perplexing 21st century technology such as the iPhone and the Twitter.

Dale Goodson was on hand to talk about his continuing forays into animation, and how he himself learned to use technology to straighten lines and get a smoother "hand-drawn" effect in his films.  With so many irons in the fire, between this, his occasional music videos and the continuing Man Without Shirt series, we're not sure what Dale will come up with next, but we're sure we'll see him again soon.

Jay and Dale
Next up, we featured a couple of episodes from the popular New York web series, "Broad City," by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.  This time, we showcased Ilana's advice on dealing with being a "Dick Magnet," and Abbi's struggle to get kissed "Under the Mistletoe."  We also squeezed in another episode of Old People News: Tech Report, examining the "easy way out" of Kickstarter.  One half of the Broad City team, Ilana Glazer, joined our hosts to talk about the many ways in which their show imitates life, and the future plans for the show, which include an upcoming second season and a short film.

Victor, Jay, and Ilana

For our third set, we presented "The Guarantee," another documentary by multiple award-winner Jesse Epstein in her series on body image.  This film tackles the true story of a ballet dancer who was told he needed to get a nose job in order to continue getting leads at his dance academy.  Since the subject didn't want to be filmed, Jesse worked with a storyboard artist to illustrate the story, lending an extra visual layer to the film.  Jesse joined hosts Jay & Victor to talk about the choice to use illustrations in the film, and the road from hearing the subject's story on a set to filming it many years later.

Victor, Jay, and Jesse

Rounding up the films in competition, we presented the final episodes of Old People News: Tech Report, and also revisited the perennial Iron Mule holiday favorite, "White Blood Cell Saves Christmas."  Kevin Maher & Lynne Rogers of Old People News came on stage to talk about the origins of the series and its potential future (including product placements).  Whatever form it takes, we look forward to more of Kevin's razor-sharp satire and more of Lynne using words like "sexting".

Victor, Jay, Kevin and Lynn
The audience was given a reprieve from laughter in order to vote for their favorite film of the evening, and while the votes were being tallied, they were treated to this month's Wanna Be A Star? film, "Peanut Factory," starring audience member Meredith Flood.  A parody of The Glass Menagerie, the film was directed by Gabriella Willenz and kept the audience in stitches as only making fun of Tennessee Williams can.
Gabriella, Victor, Jay, and Meredith
We had another double winner for the evening, as Jesse Epstein once again won both the Judges' Award and Audience Award for her film The Guarantee.  Congratulations, Jesse!

And we hope to see many of Saturday night's new audience members back for more short comedy films when we reconvene on January 8th for the next Iron Mule screening!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. do you 2 ever dress diffrent?