What’s So Funny?
Film and Stand-Up Collide at New Visions
Who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh now and then; the kind of laugh that makes your eyes water with happy tears and your cheeks hurt just enough to feel the sting moments later? The fine folks at New Visions Studio & Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton, are all about gut-busting bursts of laughter and want to bring the community together for a night chock-full of chuckles in the Electric City. The Scranton Gag Reel Comedy Festival takes place Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. and features more than 10 original short films by local and regional filmmakers as well as appearances by a number of local stand-up comedians taking aim at your funny bone. The short films will run from 8 to 10 p.m. with an hour of stand-up comedy to follow. Admission to the event is $5.
Late last year, New Visions held a holiday submission-based show focusing on the horror film genre. With a healthy response and a successful event under their belt, owner Adam Weitzenkorn felt that more film shows would only be a benefit to the local arts community and said that turning their focus toward comedy was then next natural development.
“While we were trying to figure out our next show, we thought comedy,” Weitzenkorn said. “It’s an easy genre when it comes to film; you try to make something serious and it usually comes out looking silly. We figure it would be an easy genre for people to whip up some films. We had enough submissions for a 2-hour slot and later thought ‘let’s do a third hour with some stand-up comedy’.”
Weitzenkorn enlisted Kevin Vogrin and Kyle Rebar, two local filmmakers with connections in the local arts scene, to screen the submissions and determine which films were going to be included and which would not make the cut. The film festival asked for submissions through Craigslist and Facebook and received an impressive number of entries locally and from the tri-state area.
It is in the film submissions (all short films running no longer than 15 minutes), and comedians that Vogrin sees this event as a strong social event looking to bring funny people and artists together. “In terms of comedy, there is a whole bunch of different routes you can go,” Vogrin stated. “Some people are tech savvy and they can get into illustration and painting. Some people can make films. Then there is the most intimate connection, which is having a comedian right in front of you. We didn’t want to limit the show to people who can make films. The show will allow those two groups (filmmakers and comedians) to meet. People in the audience also get to meet with people who are interested in filmmaking and comedians as well. It creates connections and bridges the gap.”
One submitted short film is A Super Mario 3D Odyssey by Tom Peeler and Nick O’Keefe which Peeler described as “a spoof of Super Mario that blends into Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.” Peeler is also looking forward to meeting new artists at the show as well as watching the comedians perform their work.
Weitzenkorn was able to enlist local comedian and filmmaker Bobby Keller to secure some live talent for the festival. Keller’s horror flick Deatherman premiered at a screening event at New Visions last November.
Weitzenkorn, Vogrin and Rebar are already looking forward to their next film show which is planned for May. The show will focus on “The Best Trailers.” Submissions for the event will only consist of movie trailers for a film that never even has to be completed because, as Weitzenkorn plainly puts it, “the trailers have all the best movie scenes anyway.”
But before they move on to different projects and genres, the men behind the festival are looking forward to enjoying a night of laughter and bringing two art forms together to ham it up under the same roof.
“It’s an experimental event,” Weitzenkorn said. “Let’s see what works and what gets a good response so that we may continue to do these events. Hopefully, it’s going to be a night full of laughs and the unexpected.”
The Big Baby Show
The Night I was Bitten
A Super Mario 3D Odyssey
Hammer Time and Metro Magic
Art School Café
Bathroom of the Sexes
Time Travel Boy
Kyle Rebar’s Restricted, Career-Maiming Short Film
The Reluctant Urinist
Larry Wargo/Long Time Smoker
Will Robins (Half & Half) as emcee
The Scranton Gag Reel Comedy Festival at New Visions Studio & Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton take place on Saturday, March 2. Films will be viewed from 8 to 10 p.m. with stand-up sets from 10 to 11 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information about the show and upcoming calls for submissions to future film events, call 878-3970 or visit www.newvisionsstudio.com.