A new film festival in Dublin dedicated to comedy promises offers up some much needed winter levity with an online programme of films and live stand-up acts. A mix of films and live comedy will take place at the first Dublin International Comedy Film Festival next month. Some of our Ireland’s top comedic talent on screen and off will share new shorts, features, sketches and stand-up.
The Dublin International Comedy Film Festival hits online screens from 3rd to 4th December with a jam packed programme of comedy events including films, sketches and web series from Ireland and around the globe. There’s also a terrific line up of virtual live comedy acts, filmmaker Q&As and a glitzy Awards Ceremony on Zoom to wrap up the two days of side-splitting fun. A festival pass which includes entry to all films and events is available now for only €5.
The festival is the brainchild of filmmaker and actor Maureen O’Connell, an award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer whose short films, wide ranging comedies like Thespish to the 1916-themed Proclaim! are regular selections for any solid Irish festival programme. The director’s debut comedy feature Spa Weekend has been a hit at festivals home and abroad, screening in British and Irish festivals and last year winning the ‘She Is On Fire’ Award at the Female Filmmakers Festival in Berlin.
Maureen spotted a glaring gap in the market when it came to the representation of comedy at film festivals and couldn’t quite get her head around the fact that there wasn’t already a film festival in the Republic of Ireland dedicated to comedy. Describing the festival, O’Connell has said:
“You have to be braver to make a comedy because if your film screens at a festival and it doesn’t make people laugh- that stings! So I want to celebrate those of us who are brave enough -or stupid enough- to try our hands at comedy!”
In celebration of some of her favourite Irish and International comedians, Maureen has come up with aptly named awards such as the Deirdre O’Kane Award for Best Irish Short film, the Seinfeld Award for Best International Short and the Charlie Chaplin Award for Best Composer with many other legendary comedians being commemorated with awards.
The live comedy acts kick off at 7pm each night with stand-up sets from Ireland’s smartest up and coming comedians, including Joe Rooney, Emma Doran, Grace Mulvey, Stephen Ryan and Taran O’Sullivan as well as Killian Sundermann whose mock RTÉ Radio 1 news report went viral during the Summer lockdown. Audiences can also enjoy a Q&A with online sensation Michael Fry aka @BigDirtyFry who will share an exclusive new sketch.
The festival will be proud to screen American indie debut feature, Dave Made a Maze. This award-winning fantasy-adventure-comedy co-written and directed by Bill Watterson is a delightfully inventive and absurd comedy with a big heart and impressive practical effects.
Irish features screening include The Last Roll, the fourth feature by Dáire McNab, a comedic satire on struggling actors and the independent film industry. Also screening is The Comeback, the last feature to be made as part of the feature film course with Filmbase.
International features include Pretty Man (My Bittersweet Family) by Kim Jung-Wook , a comedy drama from Korea shot on an iPhone, horror mockumentary from the UK South African Spook Horror and Canadian comedy Hotel Limbo.
The selection of short films and comedy sketches consists of some excellent home-grown humour including Natasha Waugh’s surreal Mother starring Hilary Rose, an award winning hilarious sci fi Rip to the Rescue by Paudie Baggot starring Rosemary Henderson & Clare Monnelly and Two Cats by John Morton (writer of RTE’s popular new Victorian drama Dead Still). Life during the Covid-19 pandemic is documented with humour by Megan K. Fox in her RTE Illuminations commissioned short Love in the Time of Corona.
Comedy sketches include the knee slapping Captain Tiny Hands written by Joe Rooney and Antoinette Scherer and the dark irreverent humour of teenagers JILL & LILL by Keith Jordan. In addition to the showcasing of Irish talent, audiences can expect a diverse assortment of side splitting humour from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France and Denmark with a programme of international shorts.
“Although I have been thinking about this festival for a few years now, it kind of feels like now is the right time to do it. I’ve always found comedy very cathartic, very healing- and I think everyone could do with that at the moment. Laughter has a therapeutic power. I love that about comedy. It’s soulfulness. I find comedy deeply soulful”
– Maureen O’Connell