My name: Gary Anthony Williams. (also known as that one black guy from Malcolm in the Middle, Boston Legal and The Boondocks.) I'm Googleable. My current festival: L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival
My title: Artistic Director
Other fests I've worked for: Santa Barbara Film Festival as juror for the shorts program.
Three movies that best represent my personal tastes: No can do this. I'm a comedy ho.
When I'm not watching movies I like to: See live performances. Do the daddy thing. Do the friends thing. Laugh at stuff. Play Tennis.
A movie I recently programmed that I consider to be a great personal discovery: At LA Comedy Shorts, the three founders (Myself, Jeannie Roshar and Ryan Higman) program as a group. We can easily name 10 or 20 pieces that would be considered personal favorites from last year's festival that not many folks have seen. All of which were original and made us laugh out loud. Here are a few of those in no particular order. The Deposition of Lou Bagetta, The Horribly Slow Murderer with an Extremely Inefficient Weapon, A Bit of Counseling, Love on the Line, The Lutheran, Cinderellis.
When filmmakers ask me "What's different about your film festival?" I say: Hello filmmaker, my name is Gary. The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival is the largest comedy film festival in the USA. It's dedicated to introducing the newest and hottest comedic talent to the industry in a four-day, fun-packed weekend of screenings, parties, industry panels, and a star-studded red carpet awards event. It's run by funny folks for funny folks. The founders either currently work in or have worked on stage live and/or in the comedy film and TV industry. Because we're in the business, we have direct and friendly contact to Celeb-types, production companies, management companies, etc. Also, we hook up our winners (and festival attendees) with interviews and in-room meetings with folks who can really help their career. There is much hob-knobbing and shoulder rubbing to be done at the festival. Good-bye, filmmaker.
Our festival audience has come to expect: Funny-ass films, High-larious and informative panels, and Kickin' parties. An overwhelming number of patrons last year watched every single film block in the 4 day festival. That made us feel real good.
We program the following categories of films: All our films, be they live action or animation, are short comedies. Nothing over 30 minutes. We even give special award to films under 5 minutes. This year in particular, we are really doing a push for more animation. In the script writing competition, we accept features as well as shorts. The only prerequisite is that they are comedies. Preferably ones that makes us bust our guts, slap our knees, or wet ourselves.
A recent trend I have noticed in submissions of which I disapprove: Everybody's doing zombie movies. Yes, I enjoy a good brain-eating. I'm sucking on grey matter right now. That being said, pleeeeeeeeease send in something new, unless you have the zombie film to end all zombie films. Which might be nice.
If I could impart one thing to filmmakers about submitting to my festival, it would be: Cut the fat. I know I've personally made that mistake with my own projects. Also, just make sure it's laugh-out-loud funny. You don't have to have a huge budget to tell a good story and make everyone laugh. Thirdly, if your film doesn't make it into LA Comedy Shorts, that doesn't mean you don't have the best film ever. It simply means that it wasn't right for our program. It could also mean we are really stupid or drunk.
The submissions period for our next festival is: Right NOW through December 18th, 2009.
Filmmakers can contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last words: Check out the website and read some comments and see some celebrities and get an idea of what we're all about and send in your comedy film or script. And stop using "and."