'SIMPSONS' WRITER MIKE REISS, A BRISTOL NATIVE, TO RECEIVE 'COMMIE' AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENT
By Susan Dunne
February 19, 2012
The Mark Twain House & Museum is jumping on the Connecticut Film Festival bandwagon, hosting a three-day festival of comic short films on Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24 through 26.
Tom Carruthers, director of the festival, is delighted that the Twain House is adding its name to the list of Connecticut Film Festival offerings.
"Twain is the father of American humor," Carruthers says. "It couldn't be a better fit."
At the festival, Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning "Simpsons" writer Mike Reiss, who grew up in Bristol, will receive a "Commie" award in recognition of his contributions to comedy. That ceremony will be at 9 p.m. on Friday.
Carruthers called the event, with films from The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, "a smackdown of 80 or 90 comedy films."
In addition to the films, workshops, seminars and parties will be held at the author's home on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. Although smatterings of short comic films from the L.A. festival have shown at Connecticut Film Festival events for several years now, this is the first time that the entire L.A. festival has been transplanted to the East Coast, to one venue for a weekend-long event.
Twain House spokesmen say that the comedy fest is the beginning of a relationship between the historical landmark and the film festival. The Twain House will soon be hosting periodic screenings of feature-length Connecticut Film Festival offerings. Among these events will be a Viva Cinema Film Festival of Latino movies in July.
In addition to the Twain, Carruthers says that by the end of the year, the festival will be screening movies at the Bethel Cinema, Infinity Hall in Norfolk, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, the Fairfield Theater Company and the Westport Arts Center. However, the festival is no longer showing movies at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook.
Supporters of the film festival include the website FunnyorDie.com; Cartoon Network; Atom.com and Atom TV on Comedy Central; and Atomic Wedgie.
There will be shorts blocks (about 90 minutes total running time) at 2, 4 and 7 p.m. Friday; and at 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 5, and 7:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Panel discussions and workshops include "If You Want Something Done 'Write'...," with panelists including Reiss, Twain House spokesman and comic screenwriter Jacques Lamarre and actor Gary Anthony Williams; "From Paper to Production," "Get Social With Your Media Marketing" and "Let's Get Digital, Digital."
Admission to individual screenings and workshops is $9 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. All-access passes are available for one, two or three days, and for parties.
Seating is limited, so those who want to go should buy early. The event is PG-13- and R-rated.
For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit www.ctfilmfest.com. For details on the event, visit www.lacomedyshortseastcoast.com.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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