After two years off, the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Festival has made its comeback, with two days of fantastic and funny short films. Dozens of films have been showcased at the festival, and now seems like a great time to showcase some of the highlights and favorites of the festival! Congrats to all of the filmmakers who have made it out and who have gotten a chance to bring their work into the world! Tickets for the entire festival are available now, only on BitPix!
Jesus 2020 – A French comedy written and directed by Aude Thuries, this film follows an employee at marketing company tasked with improving the visibility of a small church. After getting them started with a swath of bots to help build an audience online, one in particular begins to spread the love and capture the heart of the priest leading the small congregation as it expands. It’s a wonderfully funny film, and stars Alice de Lencquesaing, Bastien Bouillon, Franc Bruneau, and Victoria Erulin all deliver on a fantastic concept.
Enough Room – Dealing with ignorance and casual racism is hard for people of color, and it’s shockingly commonplace. This film tells the story of a young Mexican woman trying to find her way in Los Angeles while taking on so much of that burden. While it delivers on so many comedic moments, this film also highlights how people are often tasked with solving the lack of information carried by others, regardless of actual responsibility for the undereducation of others. Written by Lauren Chavez-Myers, directed by Christianna Carmine and headlined by the fantastic Myra Velasco, this was definitely one of the most impressive films of the festival for how it managed to capture a societal ill and still find a way to laugh.
13 Oh No – Finding the time to read can be challenging, especially when people looking for a night of lovemaking are given your address by mistake. This irreverent and hilarious film is sweet and a bit crass as it follows Willow (Bella Popa) as her night is consistently interrupted by several men gathered together for an orgy, whether they’re all aware of that or not. Writer/ Director Michael Lipton does an excellent job bringing a fresh concept to the screen, lifted by the performances of Popa, alongside Joe Blute, Ashton Glover, and Ben Floss.
Manasanamaha – A wonderful film from India, this talks the story of a young man who takes a look into his past, recounting three past relationships as he thinks about love, interacting in a relationship and his thoughts on intimacy and chemistry. Written and directed by Deepak Reddy and starring Viraj Ashwin, Drishika Chander and Srivalli Raghavender, this is an incredible film that’s fun, thoughtful and brings up the great point of how perspective can change how a story is viewed.
Ghosted – A film that’s been making a run in festivals for some time, this Tracie Laymon film focuses on a newer relationship, a Stacy (Alyssa Suede) moves her and her baggage (both real and metaphorical) into the home of Edwin (Joseph D. Reitman). The two fall in love, but with her baggage and the ghost of his past partner (Elizabeth Anweis) haunting the home, their attempts to connect get a bit more complicated. It’s touching, using the metaphors of personal flaws and past experiences and bringing them into reality. It’s a funny but bittersweet film that has gotten a lot of praise, and for good reason.
Waiting For The Punchline – Midwest girl Christy (played by star and writer Christina Marie Leonard) moves to Los Angeles to be with her comedian boyfriend (Eddie Blackwell), only to find that he’s not as committed to their relationship as she thought. With the aid of the staff at the comedy club, Christy finds herself realizing that the only live she needs in the love of herself, embarking on a surprising journey of her own. Director Lizzie Gordon does an excellent job driving the story with fun moments, and the cast is hilarious and heartfelt in ways that really mimic parts of the stand up comedy world.
Ride Share – Rosie Grace and Nate Hapke (who wrote and directed the film, respectively) star in a film about two friends who, in an effort to get back into the social scene, share rides to gatherings together. With only the perspective of these rides to go from, we see their relationship blossom into something much greater and much more complex. Using the before and after as the driving force of the story is a very interesting concept, and one that really worked well for this film.
Swiped – A short but very funny film about the advancement of AI chat technology as it makes its way into the online dating world, the creative team of Daniel Roy and Edward J Douglas extrapolate the emergence of this new tech as Melody (Nicola Chapman) attempts to find love on a dating app, only to find herself in a conversation with someone not quite real. It’s an interesting look into the evolution of this kind of marketing as it applies to dating, taking a bit of a scary subject and injecting humor into it.
Contact High – Two best friends (Taylor LeBaugh and Graham Drake-Mauer) want to change the world through a new strain of marijuana, creating something that is sure to get the attention of many. As it turns out, the world is not the only place first be creation will change, as someone extraterrestrial (Valentina Cole) is also on the hunt for their special strain. Creator Woody Woodhall creates his own special blend of stoner sci-fi in this very fun comedy.
CoVig 19 – It seems even the debt collection industry was hit pretty hard by the pandemic, as we follow the tough and stoic Natasha (Nika Khitrova) and the more everyday Art (Riley Bowes) as they attempt to collect a debt. They find themselves working their way through a new normal as health and safety protocols clash with the way they do their own life if work. Joining the two actors are Asia Lynn Pitts and Logan Perkins in this send-up of hard crime thrillers mixed with some playful satire by Mark Lesser and James H. Lee.
Party – When a voice over actor finds out that get sister has been in an accident, she leaves a session to go find out if she’s okay. On her way to the hospital, she finds out that life and technology don’t really care about your life or your grief, getting in the way as she attempts to go deal with her own life situation. Dark and absurd, this is a fantastic film that brings to light that the world keeps turning, even when yours stops. Writer and director Monica Loomba brings us this fantastic film, headlined by the terrific cast of Anna Garcia, Lily Du, Cole Hersch and Brett Maline.
The Feeling Expert – As an introverted gamer (Max Korman) attempts to make his mark on the digital world, his bookie (Spencer Garrett) cares more about the debts getting paid. In lieu of payment, they come to an agreement: in order to pay off the debts, Ernest must act as the feelings expert for the repressed Giovanni in order to please Giovanni’s loving wife, Janice. It’s an interesting concept that gets us laughs by playing the situation completely straight, making for a wonderful film by Jamie Anderson.
The Dump – Neil Holland and Carolina Korth star in a film written and directed by Holland that shows a relationship tested after a bathroom misunderstanding. We all know that everybody has to spend their time in the bathroom, but when Jason enters the bathroom and sees what Vanessa has done, he doesn’t believe it and think she’s lying about there being someone else in the house. To remedy his mistrust, Vanessa goes to extreme lengths. It’s a bit crass, but has a lot of humor in it, making this a fun, if a bit raunchy film.
Short Term Sentence – One part of a ten part series, this web short tells the story of a straight-laced teacher whose life is upended as his high school friend and famous DJ is forced to move in. It’s a fun concept that brings about the disparity and differences between the two, with creators Kevin Claydon and Evan Landry (who write, direct and star) joined by fellow series creator Phil Moniz to make a great limited series.
The Pool – Being a life guard is a tough job, especially when you’re pretty bad at it. That’s the focus of yours web series that shows the lives of four inept lifeguards as they attempt to navigate their profession. Starring Hayden Livesay, Carson Dougherty, Tony Vinci, Keren Ashri and Rebecca Smith, with Livesay and Vinci writing the series, and Adam Bowers directing.
Back In The Day – An interesting web series that focuses on the mindset of modern people and the ease in which the previous generation got on, it tells the story of two women who make that statement aloud, only for an eavesdropping witch to test that theory as the two women are hit with a spell that sends them back in time. It’s a very fun concept that has a ton to it. Creator Lucy Musial really has something with this series, and with stars Brittney Marsicek and Adaeze Ifeyinwa.
The Communist’s Daughter – The first episode of this web series by Leah Cameron, the series stars Aaron Poole, Sofia Banzhaf, Jessica Holmes and Ryan Taerk as a family of left-leaning communists living in the United States during the Reagan era. When their beliefs about American consumption clash with the kids of the family attempting to fit into high school, hijinks and capitulation ensue in this very funny look at what can happen when the powerful American culture complex meets the equal opportunity philosophy of communism.
Let Me Assist You – Noam Argov brings us a look into the life of a man in a bit of a depressive state after he makes a mistake that leads to a breakup. In order to lift his spirits, his virtual assistant goes to great lengths to help him get his life back together. Dan Shaked, Montana Lampert Hoover, and Ana Maria Jomolca star in this very uplifting student film.
Donnie Mountain – An adult film star runs into some performance issues while on the job, which sends him into a tailspin that bleeds into his everyday life and looking towards anything he can to help his woes. It’s a darkly funny film with some intense and surprising moments. The team of Thijs Bouman and Dajo Leunge do an excellent job, with the cast of Tobias Nierop, Hajo Bruins and Jamie Grant all brining excellent performances.
Sad Orangutans Rob A Bank – An incredibly interesting student film, it focuses on a group of modern Orangutans who get together and plan a bank robbery as an alternative to dealing with the things really going on in their lives. David Towne, Stephanie Randall and Nick Waters are all excellent in this very odd but engrossing piece.
Daytrip Massacre – A comedic send-up of 80’s slasher films, this piece goes all out on absurdity as five friends make a daytrip out to the woods. As it turns out, there was a mysterious camp there years ago, with some grisly murders that took place, and the being haunting it still roaming amongst the trees. With a lot of puns, gore and silliness, this is a great film that really focuses on the ridiculousness of these films and takes it to another level. Starring Artie Brennan, Gabby Cocco, Anthony Giordano, Nathaniel Mason and Jessica Ritacco, with Brennan and Giordano also handling writing and directing duties, this film is a treat that is sure to get a few laughs.
F*cking Ghosts – A just over three minute short that shows itself as a red band trailer for a film that doesn’t quite exist yet, this piece is about what the title describes as a couple buys a house only to find it haunted with ghosts whose only real intent in the afterlife is to have sex with each other, all over the house. It’s a really fun concept that is taken over the top with ridiculousness and amazing comedic acting. Writer and director Jason Cook delivers on a great script while the cast of Colin Ferguson, Ben Morrison, Natalie Lynch and Isabel Herrman really commit to the bit.
I Make Good Sounds At Parties – Director Amanda Prager and writer Russell Goldman (who also stars) deliver on a different type of horror: the type that comes from social anxiety. Turning up the volume on what it means to be introverted and in a social situation, it focuses on Goldman, who has the task of navigating a party despite everything in his being going against it. It was a wonderful film, and one that should be turning a lot of heads as it continues its path on the festival circuit.
Once Beautiful Woman – A web series from writers Victoria Vertuga, and Eric Williford, alongside director Franklin Guerrero, Jr., the show stars Vertuga as an “aging” actress who was once a name in Hollywood, but has since lost a bit of her shine. Now low on work and looking to reignite her career, Vertuga’s Grace has to audition for a role, with some major complications along the way. With a wonderful performance by Vertuga, this is a series that really has a lot going for it, and it’s wonderful to see it get some attention.
Say Hi – A Norwegian film that has one of the most clever concepts of the festival, it shows the lengths Norway will go to as it tries to protect its culture of politeness. When saying hi is a way of life, not doing so can have some intense consequences. This is a hilarious Martin Sofiedal film, with the cast of Eirik Hallert, Karoline Bentzen, Anders Kristiansen, and Maiken Frisch commiting fully to the concept for incredible results.
This was an incredible return to theaters and to the masses after a brief hiatus for the festival, and everyone who was able to attend got a great showing from these talented filmmakers. Those unable to attend still have a chance, as every film in the festival is available on BitPix! Thank you to everyone who attended and who will be watching online. See you next year!