2024 FESTIVALApr 10-20, 2024Lansing, MI

The World Needs Laughter and So Does a Film Festival

When it comes to a film festival, it is good to have selections with a few laughs.

I love documentaries about collecting soup can labels in North Korea, and tense dramas about a divorced couple ordering take-out as much as the next guy, but we can all benefit from a laugh or two. A few chuckles help break up the seriousness which (usually) dominates film festivals. Change is good (especially at an arcade).

I am happy to say, this year’s Capital City Film Festival has plenty of laughs to go around. We had several chuckle-inducing shorts submitted, and most of them made the final cut. Comedy can be difficult to pull off well, which is summed up best by the oft-used quote, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

Hippy Ninja offers up action and comedy in one hilarious, and well-shot, package. Fans of Kill Bill and other such films will get a kick out of this martial arts spoof (pun intended, because I don’t know any better).

For those who enjoy monologues or stand-up, Bathing and the Single Girl will scratch that itch. The entire short is the star sharing a monologue about dating younger men, and no, it does not star Demi Moore.

Kickstarter gets a much needed lampooning in Cliffstarter. One of the shortest films to make the final cut, Cliffstarter offers up plenty of absurd humor, just like my last IRA audit (I still say a Boba Fett costume is a legit business expense).

If footballs to the groin are more your style of humor, don’t miss Cotton County Boys. The boys have more fun shooting embarrassing videos than my ex-wives’ private detectives.

Speaking of awkward romance, courtship humor abounds in Street Pillow or the Sidewalk Sleep. Plus, it features Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman in a show stealing scene.

Death does not always have to be serious, as seen in Horizontal Accidents and The Extraordinary Life of Rocky. The former features con-men trying to make a buck of the dead, while the latter is like if Amelie and Royal Tenenbaums had a baby. A well shot, hilarious baby.

Finally, there is After School Special, which is a great example of a slow-build up, followed by a killer punch line. Leave the monocles and martinis at home for this one. While this year’s CCFF features some well-made, but super-serious submissions, there are more than enough funny shorts to balance things out. But, like alternating between dessert and salad at a buffet, watching some of each will make you appreciate the other much more.

Daniel J. Hogan is a member of the Selection Committee, and the geek half of Ginger and the Geek. His mom thinks he is funny. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.