Filmmakers Raise Royal Laughter
April Fools' Screening & Awards Ceremony
Saturday 5th April
Theatre Royal, Margate
The very first 2 Days Laughter Short Film Competition Screenings and Awards, which took place at Margate’s Theatre Royal on Saturday 5th April, was voted a resounding success.
Filmmakers from around the country packed out the historic Georgian building to watch no less than 26 funny films, of five minutes or less, in an entertaining and very diverse matinee and evening performance. The venue is provided courtesy of Thanet District Council.
The event is hosted by Beeping Bush Productions, an arts and digital media company located at the Community Pharmacy Gallery in Margate’s Old Town, and Close-Up Film, the Canterbury-based film website and Publicists. Since December 2007, entrants have been downloading a brief from the competition website and then taking up the challenge to make a laugh-out-loud mini-movie in under 48hrs.
The organisers have also directed a sister event, 2 Days Later, a 48hr Horror Shorts Awards and Festival, every October since 2003.
2 Days Laughter Co-director, Mick Etherton, says: “There was a fantastic atmosphere on Saturday and it was great to see so many previous 2 Days Later Horror Competition filmmakers now making comedies. 12 of the 26 films were from Kent and the wonderfully diverse styles made it very difficult for the judges to agree on clear winners as the standard was so high".
Going Postal lads receiving the Best Short Comedy Film Award from Jo Nolan
The judging panel – which included Ramsgate-born actress Brenda Blethyn, Time Out Magazine’s Comedy Editor, Tim Arthur, comedian turned academic, Dr Oliver Double of the University of Kent, and promoter of live comedy in Kent, Richard Coughlan – eventually decided that the film that raised the biggest laughs was Going Postal, about a young man waiting for a post-card from his girlfriend. Winning directors, Will Hitchins & Tom Brookes, were particularly delighted as they had travelled all the way from Diptford in Devon. They won a selection of filmmaking courses with Insight Education. They also triumphed in the Best Student Film category, making this the first short in a ‘2 Days’ event to pick up both awards. Ben Sutton, of Worthing, with 5 Minute Call were the runners-up along with Christina Atesh and Matthew Sutton, of Sandwich, with Big Memories Wow!
Also closer to home, Margate’s Martin Solomon took the Best Stand-Up Comedy prize with a tour de force performance delivered straight to camera, while the audience voted the energetic Welcome to Margate, complete with it’s Tracey Emin references, as their favourite film of the day. This popular choice was directed by Gareth Fairlie of Herne Bay. [Box] Fresh, a spoof on Youth TV from Dan Thompson of Hartley in Kent, was also one of the day’s big winners. It was awarded Best Editor and was a runner-up in a number of other categories, including Best Director, losing out only to Lewisham’s Matt Mitchell, whose Super Lucky Kitten Fist, a hilarious take on the martial arts genre, also picked up Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
Jo Romero (Facebook Friends) receiving Best Screenplay Award from Jon Holmes and Jo Nolan
Other winners included Dominic Currie, Surrey, as Best Actor for Wise Guise and Amy Sutton, Worthing, for 5 Minute Call. Facebook Friends, from Islington’s Keeley Lawrence, won the Best Screenplay award and a place on a Raindance 2-day Comedy Writing course with Dave Cohen, one of the founders of the famous ‘Comedy Store’ and former writer of ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’.
Matt Mitchell (Super Lucky Kitten Fist) receiving Best Director Award and other prizes from Jon Holmes
Presiding over events was Gary Colman, stand-up comedian and a founder of Electric Mouse Comedy, who host live comedy events at 18 events around the UK and run comedy writing workshops. They have been proud sponsors of 2 Days Laughter throughout the event.
Comedian, writer, broadcaster and 2 Days Laughter judge, Jon Holmes presented the prizes, along with Jo Nolan, Chief Executive of Screen South, the regional branch of the UK Film Council and the funders of 2 Days Laughter. No stranger to controversy, Mr Holmes – who co-created TV’s Dead Ringers and has written for such names as Stephen Fry and Graham Norton – treated the audience to an awards ceremony delivered in his own energetic and inimitable style, with much audience participation. The Radio 2, 4 & 6 presenter is not for the faint-hearted but his razor sharp wit and delivery ensured the evening ended with the audience in the highest of spirits and looking forward to what proved to be a most enjoyabe after party at the Front Bar in Margate, with music provided by that popular Kent duo, The Dualers.
Click here to see the full film category result winners.
Click here to see footage of the 2008 April Fools' Screening & Awards Ceremony.
Click here to download a pdf document (2.3 MB) of all the showlistings for the day and evening screenings.
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