Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mark Twain House Hosts LA Comedy Shorts

For the first time ever, The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, the largest comedy film festival in the USA, is offering an encore event at an East Coast venue -- and that venue will be The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Conn., the home of one of America's finest funnymen.

The Festival Encore on Friday, February 24; Saturday, February 25; and Sunday, February 26 will be presented by the Connecticut Film Festival, which since 2005 has been offering edgy and innovative filmmaking in the state, including a major annual festival in Danbury.

The event will include the presentation of a "Commie" award for comedic writing and producing excellence to Mike Reiss,  who has won four Emmys and a Peabody Award during his twenty-one years writing for The Simpsons.
 
The Mark Twain House & Museum presentation of the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival will kick off a monthly series of independent films at the museum on the fourth Friday of every month, also presented by the Connecticut Film Festival. The series will include the inaugural Viva Cinema Film Festival in July, an offering of films highlighting Latino arts, ideas and cultures
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The L.A. Comedy Shorts East Coast Encore is dedicated to introducing the newest and hottest comedic talent in a non-stop smackdown of more than 80 comedic short films with screenings, industry panels, and lots of filmmaker networking.

When the Best of the 2009 and 2010 L.A. Comedy Shorts were shown locally, they left Connecticut Film Festival audiences in stitches. The directors of L.A. Comedy Shorts and the Connecticut Film Festival decided to head East for an annual encore of the hilarious four-day event.

Participants will join celebrities, comedians, writers and other industry professionals at evening parties; hone their comedy writing chops at workshops and panels; and of course see over 80 comedy short films vetted by some of the funniest people in the industry. Major supporters include Will Ferrell and Judd Apatowís' website, FunnyorDie.com; Cartoon Network; Atom.com and Atom TV on Comedy Central; and Fremantleís Atomic Wedgie

The festival is edgy, provocative, can cause brief moments of hysterical laughter and can at times be downright offensive. Be prepared for those uncomfortable moments when you see your boss exiting the same provocative movie.

L.A. Comedy Shorts East Coast Encore will include receptions, parties, the "Commie" awards presentation, and other day  and evenuing  events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

The heart of the festival is the films themselves, shown in 90-minute "blocks" of 8-10 films each: the Opening Night Celebrity Shorts Block; As Seen on TV; Boys, Toys & Goys; Male Pattern Badness (featuring Atom.com); Best Of The 2009 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival; East Vs West - Show Us Your Best Short; Better Than Birth Control; Shut Your Wormhole; Stone-Cold Busted; Best Of The 2010 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival; Mo' Money, Mo' Ninjas; Fish & Chicks; Liars and Tigers and Bears; and Best Of The 2011 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Panels include Paper to Pitch to Gettiní Rich; Let's Get Digital, Digital; Famous People Talking about S&*%;  and If You Want Something Done 'Write.'

For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, go to www.ctfilmfest.com.

Admission to individual screenings and workshops is $9 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. An All Access Pass, which gets you into all screenings, workshops, receptions Friday through Sunday, is $125. A VIP All Access Pass is $175.00.
A Day Pass for Friday or Saturday -- which includes all screenings, workshops and that evening's reception -- is $45. A Sunday Day Pass is $35.

An Evening Film & Party Pass is $25. It's is good Friday and Saturday nights and includes screening and pre- and post-film receptions catered by Executive Chef Michael Bick's Some Things Fishy Catering. Connecticut's very own independent brewery, Thomas Hooker, will provide the finest brews around. There will also be a fine selection of Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel and non-alcoholic beverages provided by Pink Monkey Water.

Seating for this weekend event is extremely limited and it is recommended that attendees purchase their tickets and passes ahead of time.

All special passes and tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ctfilmfest.com and clicking on the "L.A. Comedy Shorts East Coast Encore" link. Tickets and passes will be available the week of the festival at The Mark Twain House & Museum box office.

Because of the adult nature of much of the material, the event is PG-13/R-Rated.

Movie snacks will be available in the Mark Twain Museum Store.

Along with his four Emmys and Peabody, Mike Reiss received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 from the Animation Writers Caucus.  He co-created the animated series The Critic and created Showtime's hit cartoon Queer Duck, named one of the 100 Greatest Cartoons of All Time by the BBC.  Queer Duck: the Movie was released in  2006, winning awards in New York, Chicago, San Diego, Sweden, Germany and Wales. My Life in Ruins, a film inspired by his travels to 71 countries, was released in 2009.  Reiss also co-wrote The Simpsons Movie and Ice Age 3.

The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, (www.lacomedyshorts.com), founded by Boston Legal's Gary Williams, is dedicated to introducing the newest and hottest comedic talent to the industry, and helping them make the connections they need to take their careers to the next level.
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The Connecticut Film Festival, (www.ctfilmfest.com), an annual state-wide event screening national and international films in cities and towns throughout Connecticut, was founded in 2005 . Each year the festival produces and a monthly film series, 5-6 weekend festivals and a culminating 10-and-night film, digital media, emerging music and screenwriting festival and conference.

The Mark Twain House & Museum (www.marktwainhouse,org) has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891.

Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m. (Closed Tuesdays through March.) For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.

Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced
numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont
Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.”

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway
League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway
run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill
Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/. She
is editor of The award-winning Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com),

She is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Contributing Editor for BroadwayWorld.com, Connecticut theater editor
for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web. Yarger is a book reviewer and writer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented
by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle (awards committee).

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts,
the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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