If ever there was a time for a comedy film festival, it’s now. The Dublin International Comedy Film Festival kicks off this week (3-4 December) with a programme that promises to deliver comic gifts, including films, sketches and web series from Ireland and around the globe. There’s also virtual live comedy acts, filmmaker Q&As and an Awards Ceremony on Zoom.
We talked to actor, filmmaker and festival founder Maureen O’Connell to get the goss from the boss.
What is the comedy that you love and that inspired you growing up?
I loved Gremlins, Moonlighting, Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chaplin, and tonnes of sitcoms like Golden Girls and Roseanne. I think I quite liked adventure stories that had really charismatic, vulnerable, funny leads.
Can you tell us about your own work?
I recently directed a Screen Ireland short film, HUM that premiered at the Cork International Film Festival. And my own slacker comedy feature film, SPA Weekend recently won Best International Feature at the Polish International Film Festival. It’s still on the circuit, doing the rounds!
Why do you feel comedy is so important during weird, weird times like these?
I think people need a release. Lockdown 5 is hard enough and what with the days getting darker faster, it’s proving emotionally difficult for everyone. And we are not sure when the end is in sight! I think coming together and enjoying some well-made comedy films where you can be a part of the festival and meet the filmmakers via zoom… it gives a sense of community, camaraderie and a sense of you’re not alone – all while watching hilarious films!
What’s the silliest thing that ever happened to you?
I came home drunk, promptly vomited on myself, took my clothes off, went downstairs, to get a cup of milk, there was no milk, I started complaining loudly that there was no milk, my flatmate came in to find me naked standing in the middle of the kitchen, blind drunk complaining my milk had been stolen.
Can you tell us a little about what we’ll be seeing at Dublin International Comedy Film Festival?
You’ll see 60 films, 9 sketches and 9 web-series. You will also have the opportunity to come to Q&As and enjoy stand-up comics via Zoom links and all for only €5!
What made you want to start a festival… in a pandemic no less?
I thought it could easily go online and it’d be perhaps a good way to build a base for a physical festival in the future. And I thought, we all could do with a laugh!
And most importantly… tell us your favourite joke!
Oh gosh! I can never remember any when people ask me this!
Let me see… ok, this is a really shit joke, but I must confess I am fond of shit jokes…
Why do we tell actors to ‘break a leg’?
Because every play has a cast.
See? I told you… Shit.
The Dublin International Comedy Film Festival 2020 runs 3 – 4 December.