News Column

Don't just text LOL, do it at short film festival

September 13, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 13--OGDEN -- Humor that is "unrated, uncut and unapologetic" is promised when the Laugh Out Loud Short Film Fest plays at Peery's Egyptian Theater on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Nine short comedies created in the United States, Canada and Australia will be screened at 8 p.m. at the theater, 2415 Washington Blvd.

The shorts feature edgy adult humor and offer a film festival experience compressed into just 90 minutes. The festival spotlights movies dealing with everyday life rather than "the snooty content prominent at most conventional film festivals," according to a statement on its website, www.lolsff.com.

"It's nice to get some comedy here," says Shirley Genus, the new director of Peery's Egyptian Theater.

Genus says it will also be fun to see the comedy of different countries represented, although the dual U.S.-Canadian citizen says she couldn't help but notice: "Some of the raunchiest ones, which kind of made me chuckle a bit, were from Canada."

Events like this film festival will help build the audience at Peery's Egyptian so that more live events can be added in the future, Genus says.

Ogden is the last stop on the festival's tour of about 80 theaters across the United States and Canada, says executive director Joe Edick in a phone interview from Muskegon, Mich.

Edick created the two-year-old festival because he enjoys comedy and believed there should be more venues for short films. He also liked the idea of staging the event in regular theaters, rather than the offbeat settings where some film festivals play.

He once attended a movie fest in a boat house, for example. Halfway through, a hard rain started falling and the pounding on the metal roof made it impossible to hear the films.

"That struck me as a disaster," Edick says. "You know, films are made to be seen in a movie theater."

The great thing about spotlighting a collection of short films is the variety, the festival director says.

"I don't think that everyone will love all nine of them; that's just the nature of art, and film is an art form," Edick says. However, he adds, "The good news here is, if you don't think one is that funny, you'll have another one in a few minutes."

Themes of the Laugh Out Loud Short Film Festival include dating, social media, marriage, sexuality, drinking, raising kids and, yes, even bodily functions.

A sampling of the films:

--"Status Update: A Facebook Fairytale," an 11-minute film from Australia showing what happens when one man's status updates start coming true. The movie won the Special Jury Prize at the New York Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.

--"The Dark Companion," a 14-minute American movie named Best Film at the Laugh Track Comedy Festival. Howard -- a puppet -- experiences a nervous breakdown when he realizes he's the only one who can see his puppeteer.

--"Dream Job," a look at an out-of-work filmmaker who must sell his comic-book collection to pay his rent but then lands his dream job -- a chance to work with George Lucas. The 19-minute movie from the United States won the Audience Award at the NYC Picturestart Film Festival.

--"Tug," the story of two best friends out to prove to their rivals who is the better pair of friends. These guys will do anything -- anything -- to win in this 15-minute film made in the United States.

--"Naptime," a 3-minute infomercial spoof touts a fake product that will instantly stop children from throwing the dreaded temper tantrum.

Audiences at the Ogden screening can vote to help determine which film receives the festival's Audience Choice Award.

"Voting is very close between a couple of films," the executive director says, but his own personal favorite is near the bottom of the pack and not a huge fan favorite.

Either way, Edick says he isn't naming any names yet -- results will be announced on the festival's website in a few weeks.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for students, seniors and military personnel. For more information, call 801-689-8700.

Contact reporter Becky Cairns at 801-625-4276 or bcairns@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @bccairns.

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(c)2013 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

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