Comedy festival serves up world premieres
Ryan Summerlin January 13, 2005
The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival’s film program will feature six world premiere screenings when the festival is staged next month. The Film Discovery Showcase will include a total of 22 comedic features and 23 short films from around the world.The 11th annual USCAF will be held in Aspen Feb. 9-13.
The six world premiere presentations at the USCAF are: “Bob the Butler,” “Jesus Is Magic,” “Lucky 13,” “Partner(s),” “Stephen Toblowsky’s Birthday Party” and “Tennis, Anyone?”The Film Discovery Showcase will include a documentary series, the American Independents and World Cinema series, and special presentations of Cheech & Chong’s “Up in Smoke” and Yaujiro Ozu’s 1952 classic “Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice.” The SURPRISE! Screening Series will feature “Kung Fu Hustle,” “The Aristocrats” and more unannounced films.Also in the Film Discovery Program will be the Fireside Chat Series, with movie executives discussing comedy films; the Festival Awards Gala; the presentation of the Perrier Bubbling Under Award to an emerging comedic film talent; and the debut of the Critic’s Choice: Unsung Comedies Sidebar series, with Entertainment Weekly film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum presenting overlooked comedies of the past.
In the world premiere category, director Gary Sinyor’s “Bob the Butler” stars Tom Green as a jack-of-all-trades working his way through careers alphabetically. The film, being screened as a work-in-progress, co-stars Brooke Shields and Simon Callow. “Jesus Is Magic” focuses on stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman, as she offers narrative digressions on race, sex, politics, the Holocaust and more.”Lucky 13,” directed by Scott Marshall, features Jami Gertz, Jeremy Piven and Garry Marshall as family members trying to hold it together as 13-year-old Benjamin prepares for his bar mitzvah. “Partner(s)” stars Jay Harrington as attorney Dave Denally, who embraces a false rumor of his homosexuality in order to make partner at his law firm.”Stephen Toblowsky’s Birthday Party” is a concert-style documentary of a birthday party for prolific character actor Toblowsky, who entertains his guests with stories of drug trips and auditioning to be Ronald McDonald. “Tennis, Anyone?” the directing debut by Donal Logue, is the story of two struggling actors who join Hollywood’s celebrity charity tennis circuit.
Among the other films to be featured in the Film Discovery Program are “The Aristocrats,” a backstage documentary of stand-up comedians by Paul Provenza featuring George Carlin, Gilbert Gottfried and more; “Kung Fu Hustle,” a martial arts comedy by “Shaolin Soccer” director Stephen Chow; the German, gay-themed musical “Star Trek” parody “Dreamship Surprise – Period 1;” and “The Thing About My Folks,” a road picture starring Peter Falk and Paul Reiser as a father and son weaving their way toward reconciliation.For further information on the 2005 USCAF, go to www.hbocomedyfestival.com.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is email@example.com