Although there are many festivals currently seeking submissions, this new festival started by some Hollywood East Connection favorites is worth entering and definitely checking out.
Because The 989 Project (a Rhode Island production company) helped found The Providence Comedy Festival, filmmaking is understandably an extension. The festival is currently accepting comedic short films that are no longer than 10 minutes. The early deadline to submit is February 1 for a fee of $10 and the extended deadline of February 5 warrants a $15 fee and is for New England filmmakers only. Submission forms can be found on their website. Accepted films will be eligible for awards in Best Comedic Short, Best New England Short, and The RIFC Best Rhode Island Short.
Along with funny short films and the usual stand up comedy you find at comedy festivals (this year’s headliners include MA native Jennifer Coolidge and Frank Santorelli), there will be a slew of other related events. Some of these include interactive game-shows, afternoon improv classes (with one of the two classes devoted to couples), open mic opportunities, and a stand-up competition. There will also be an opening night event featuring a performance by Rhode Island residents Improv Jones and sketch comedy troupe, Empire Revue.
These diverse events come out of the desire to celebrate the great comedic outlets that Rhode Island offers. As Anthony Ambrosino, Creative Director of the 989 Project and one of the founders of the Providence Comedy Festival states, “I’m a big fan of comedy, and Rhode Island has a number of fantastic outlets for it, from the Improv Jones and Unexpected Company Improv troupes, to the great stand-up at the Comedy Connection and Catch a Rising Star, to the number of talented filmmakers locally at the Rhode Island Film Collaborative. I thought it would be great to bring all of that together and see what type of “Comedic Jazz” we could create.”
Those interested in supporting local comedy in Rhode Island can buy tickets for events ranging from $5 to $25 through Ticketmaster. In addition to being pretty affordable, you can also feel good about your purchase. Partial proceeds of ticket sales will benefit Al’s House, Moving Minds, which provides adults in the early stages of cognitive impairments due to Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia with quality programs that are both enriching and engaging.
For more information about entering the Providence Comedy Festival and for a full schedule, make sure to visit their website.
Two local Rhode Island boys, Brett Leigh and Michael West, who certainly aren’t new to the biz just wrapped up their first 90 minute mockumentary, Festival the movie. This is Leigh’s directorial debut.
The feature comedy begins in a small town office, located somewhere in America where they decide to put on their first film festival. “The script is based on of real people that both Brett and Mike have met,” Rachel Violanto, the publicist tells HEC. “The scenes are loosely based off of shorts, features, and other films that the directors have seen as well. The scenarios are either scripted or also based off of events.”
This office doesn’t lack in personality for sure and decides to make a documentary of their first annual film festival and the top five winners of the fest. Through some swindling, the office convinces Margaret, an “unbeknownst and inexperienced web designer” to be the face of the documentary and travel across the coast interviewing the people behind the submissions.
“Festival is not only about film festivals but a festival of characters. It brings you on journey to meet people of all walks of life that come together through one medium: film,” the Festival Team shares.
Not only is the flick’s talent comprised of mostly New Englanders, “The filming took place primarily in New England,” the Festival Team tells us. “Rhode Island served as our main filming grounds. All locations were film friendly and Rhode Island serves as a wonderful backdrop for many different scenes. The diversity of Newport, Providence, and Cranston helped the film makers create locations that look like different states in America. This was incredibly useful saving time and money,” the Festival team adds.
The movie idea came about when Leigh was in Europe attending a film festival. At this particular fest, Brett Leigh was celebrating a world premiere of a film in which he starred in. After meeting a lot of different artistic and creative people while learning the ins and outs of a film festival, he thought “Why has no one made a movie about this?” When Brett returned to the states, he met with Mike West and they started pre-production.
Today, Festival is currently at a world premiere status. The producers are waiting to hear back from film festivals that are interested in the film. Because of this, Festival can’t premiere until early spring. And we can’t wait! “If you have ever made a film, worked or attended a festival, or love movie history, this film is for you! Also, veteran composer, Sean Hathaway has created an original score that upholds the films integrity and is wonderful to listen to,” the Festival team shares.
“The cast and crew excite everyone who watches the film. The cast is extremely witty and versatile, never afraid to do anything the directors asked and always on target with interpretation of the script,” the Festival team tells us. “The crew was also essential. Because it was an indie film, the crew was much smaller than the cast. But with the help of Barbara Newman, Seamus Donahoe, Amber Tharp, and Bryce Dion this film came together,” the team adds.
Stay in contact with Festival the movie on FB, Twitter and the dot com where you can find out all about the hot cast and crew and other cool features they have on the site. And watch the trailer below, it’s wildly funny!
The Rhode Island International Film Festival ended this past Sunday, August 15after having had over 240 filmmakers registered from 51 different countries and showcased over 200 cinematic works, including 35 World and 23 North American Premieres. These films were chosen from a record of over 4200 international submissions.
The festival kicked off last Tuesday with an exciting night of outstanding short films. RIIFF’s opening night short films have become a massive draw since the festival achieved accreditation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as an Oscar-qualifiying festival in the Short Film category.
This year’s top prizes went to the French short, Tout Ma Vie, directed by Pierre Ferriere, Norman, a feature directed by Jonathon Segal and the documentary Afghanistan: Defying Silence directed by Stacia Teele and Ed Robbins. Two films tied for Best Short Documentary: Jennifer Stoddart’s One Thousand Pictures: RFK’s Last Journey and Travis Senger’s White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug. The winner of Best Short Film is now eligible to receive an Academy Award nomination for the 2010-2011 season. The festival also presented a Creative Vision Award to comedic actor, Jonathan Katz, and screened his recent hilarious animated short, “Death Row Diet.” A full list of awards can be found on RIIFF’s website.
Films were shown mostly in Providence with some programs also being held in Newport. One of RIIFF’s many goals is to promote Rhode Island’s community of artists and filmmakers, therefore, there was an outdoor merchant fair featuring many artisans from the New England area and an H.P. Lovecraft Walking Tour highlighting some of the local areas mentioned in the well-known fantasy and horror author’s books.
RIIFF also held its annual ScriptBiz Workshop program for aspiring screenwriters. Writer/director Chris Sparling, author of Crazy Heart, Thomas Cobb, and Emmy Award winning director, screenwriter, producer and distributor, Michael Sergio participated in this year’s topic of “Make Your Own Success As a Writer.” Between Takes Coffee Talks, RIIFF’s morning gatherings for filmmakers were also well attended and informed many of the new forms of distribution, the process of making a personal documentary and the tricks of working with a RED camera.
Highlights of the film festival include locally made Sleather, which had a huge turnout. The film’s premiere filled most of the 1,900 seat theater at the VMA Arts and won the Audience Award Grand Prize. Waking Sleeping Beauty, a documentary about the turmoil during the 1980s at Disney Animation also played to packed audiences. The film’s writer, Patrick Pacheco, and RIIFF’s Programming Director, Ron Tippe, who had worked at Disney during the time that the film profiled, gave great insight on Roy Disney, Michael Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenberg as well as what it was like to work at Disney.
Along with the movies playing in the main theatre, many great GLBT films were featured at the Bell Street Chapel, a Unitarian Universalist church. Jewish themed shorts and features were on view at the Brown/RISD Hillel.
For more information on the films screened at the festival and RIIFF’s upcoming horror film festival, make sure to check out their website. If you are interested in learning more about the other festivals in the New England area, check out our festivals page and let us know if there is a festival that you would like profiled.
New England actor, director and screenwriter Bill Doherty Jr.’s first short film, Love Hurts, has just premiered at the Boston International Film Festival. Doherty is already a seasoned actor, most recently starring in the films Donor and Smark.
Doherty’s short, Love Hurts, is a comedic action film about three lifelong friends who venture into a routine, clockwork hit involving a safe, a combination and their target. Of course nothing goes as planned and hilarious gangster mayhem ensues. Doherty says of his film, “think Goodfellas meets The Three Stooges. “
A movie about gangsters might not seem so funny, but Doherty insists that audience members will “fall in love, or at least care about these main characters despite their actions. They are just having fun doing their job. Who can’t appreciate that, right?”
Watch the trailer for Love Hurts here:
Be sure to support this local filmmaker and look out for Doherty in Festival, 3 in the Clip 1 in the Chamber, and The Machine all to be released later this year. For more information on his upcoming films including Love Hurts, check out his website.
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