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The Bubonic Play
A still from "The Bubonic Play"Courtesy of the filmmaker

Goin’ LOCO with London's funniest new filmmakers

Three filmmakers share an exclusive clip of their hilarious films ahead of London's Comedy Film Fest

The London Comedy Film Festival, LOCO for short, is back for the fourth time, on its deadly serious mission to spread laughter throughout dismal January. Screening everything from classics to unsung silent films to world premieres across the capital, this year’s theme, adroitly tied in to this year’s general election, is Comedy and Social Class – meaning opportunities to see the likes of Ealing greats Kind Hearts and Coronets or Passport to Pimlico, Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero and Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet back on the big screen.

Alongside screenings, LOCO aims to encourage a new generation of comedic talent, offering networking and career advice with industry experts (previously including Peep Show’s Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, Nighty Night’s Julia Davis and Sightseers’ Ben Wheatley), along with a year-round training programme. Part of this strategy is the LOCO Discovery Awards, given to a comedy feature and short each year (previous winners include the BAFTA-nominated Black Pond and last year’s festival favourite Gone Too Far!). Below, three filmmakers – two of which are shortlisted for the Discovery Feature Award – discuss an exclusive clip from their films and why LOCO matters to them.

BRETT GOLDSTEIN – WRITER/ACTOR ON SUPERBOB

“The idea of making a romantic superhero film set on the superhero’s day off sounded funny to me. Despite it being his day off, we knew there would be moments of special effects scenes using stunts, cables and CGI. However, my favourite moment in the film is the special effect that happens in camera. It is the most moving moment in the film and no one knows how we did it and we did it for no money. I love that so much. It does what you want special effects to do. It enhances the story.  

Bob is forced to dance with someone (no spoilers) and in the moment of their eyes closing, both of them begin to float above the ground. It is a lovely mixture of romance, sweetness and a bit of magic. I also love that we solved the problem of how to do it, on the day itself. It was a communal effort brought about by panic and fear. Which I now understand is a good description of all filmmaking. And I will never tell how we did it...

It was always a dream of ours to host the premiere in London as our film is set in Peckham and was very much London-centric. What LOCO do for film comedy is extraordinary and we are proud to be a part of it. Comedy film is so often overlooked within the industry and yet it can be the most powerful communicative tool of all.”

SARAH WARREN – WRITER/DIRECTOR/ACTOR ON MLE

“Attempting to piece together something of the train-wreck of her career, in this scene Julie attempts, again, to land an agent. She shows up to what she thinks will be an office and it's a run-down dwelling. Inside sits a clueless agent surrounded by dimly lit garbage bags and clutter. To top it all off – mid-interview, the agent blatantly partakes in a drug deal (dealt by the wonderful Mike Figgis).

Comedy can often be an underrated genre, deemed 'escapism or a little fluff' when positioned beside worthy dramas, when in fact making an audience laugh is one of the most difficult (and rewarding) things a filmmaker can try to achieve. I love a bleak, heady, British drama as much as the next bloke, but it's wonderfully refreshing to have this enthusiastic, fresh and competent festival LOCO to cope with those January blues and showcase new talent.

The funniest part about this, I think, is that the scene actually happened to me; real drug deal during an interview with an agent – the only difference was in real life he also had a little Jack Russell dog running around on her period – oh, how I wish I were kidding…”

CAL MCCRYSTAL – DIRECTOR/ACTOR ON THE BUBONIC PLAY

“If I had to pick a favourite scene it would probably be the beginning of Part The Second: Progress & Pursuit. Intimate and sweet, it was the scene in the original stage version that made me think of doing a movie. Mathilde (Clare Thomson) has left behind a comfortable life with her amorous master, George of Ponsonby (Jamie Glassman) to run off with a wandering Minstrel (Mat Baynton). 

As the young lovers rest in a dappled glade, the Minstrel speaks of the life he left behind when his bucolic village was struck by the bubonic plague. Mathilde’s tender heart is overwhelmed by the story but she soon cheers up when the Minstrel pulls out his mandolin.

Comedy is often wrongly seen as the poor relation of 'Art', so it is fantastic that London now has a film festival dedicated entirely to humour.”

LOCO runs from January 22nd – 25th. For more information, visit www.locofilmfestival.com. Watch Dazed's comedy shorts here.