Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's Waiting for You at the Just for Laughs Festival

From a press release
  • Just For Laughs Comedy Conference Announces Artists!
  • Keynote Speaker Lewis Black and the return of Andy Kindler.
  • Conference Reaches Out to the Next Generation of Creative Talent.
  • Comedy Bootcamp for Film: A Telefilm Canada, Canadian Film Centre and Just For Laughs Joint Initiative.
  • Plus Returning Pitch Programs for Web & Television.
  • July 15 – 17, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Montreal, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 – This year’s Just For Laughs Comedy Conference may leave you battered and bruised or laughing out loud, but it will definitely not leave you feeling indifferent. The keynote address will be delivered by that acerbic, but observant, angry man himself: Lewis Black. And The Late Show with David Letterman correspondent Andy Kindler returns with his annual ‘State of the Industry’ address, calling out all of comic royalty, including those in the room.

The Conference, coupled with the Just For Laughs Festival presented by Videotron, is THE comedy event for anyone in the business of comedy. Delegates and participants get access to the three days full of panel discussions on the business of comedy, great speakers and pitch programs. The Conference pass also gives them the chance to see a wide range of shows at the Festival, ranging from some of the hottest comedians in the world to tomorrow’s next big talent. But most of all, it’s about the experience. The Conference and the Festival attract an impressive list of industry heavyweights, including studio execs, broadcasters, agents, managers, writers, producers and filmmakers, in addition to the multitude of comics from around the world.

The 2010 edition breaks down the wall between the comedy establishment and the next generation of comedy creators vying for a way in. Two great programs invite comedy makers to get valuable face-time, as well as advice, from veterans in the comedy film, Web and TV industry.

Expanding on a collaboration started last year, Comedy Bootcamp for Film is presented by the 2010 Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, a CFC Film program, in collaboration with Just For Laughs. The Bootcamp is a precursor to those individuals interested in the 2010 Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab. It is designed to offer a community of aspiring and established Canadian comedy talent high-level insights about the dos and don’ts of developing feature comedy films. In order to apply filmmakers must meet the eligibility requirements of the 2010 Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab available March 15 at www.cfccreates.com and www.hahaha.com/conference. Three teams will be invited to participate in the Bootcamp and will present their five-minute pitch presentations to a panel of comedy experts. Each presentation will be followed by a round of feedback and a 45-minute script meeting with a selected panellist to discuss their script in greater detail. This feedback will be a valuable benefit to Bootcamp participants when they submit their pitch to the 2010 Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab in August.

Feedback from 2009 participants in the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab has been very positive. 2009 Lab participant Sacha Pavlovic, the writer of Destiny, aka Ramington’s: Men of Steel said: "The Comedy Lab was the best experience of my professional life. The knowledge I gained about the business of screenwriting, and the contacts I made have forever changed the course of my career. The lab far exceeded any and all expectations I had, in a good way of course."

This year also marks the return of an expanded version of the TV pitch event as the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference invites TV & Web writers, show runners, producers and performers to Pitch ‘Til Your Sides Split. Projects for the Web or television will once more be presented to a panel of leading comedy industry executives and decision-makers in an open-forum pitch session. Three projects from each category will be selected to be presented and the creators will be given the opportunity to make a five-minute pitch to the panel, followed by feedback.

“These two programs add a new dimension to our goal of discovering and promoting emerging talent and gives them a shot at getting opinions of decision-makers who can change their lives in an instant” said Just For Laughs Chief Operating Officer, Bruce Hills. “In addition to our seminars and panel discussions, these two pitch programs give us the chance to bring a hands-on approach to nurturing new talent and being involved in the birth of exciting new programming.”

This year’s Comedy Conference attendees are in for a treat as the keynote address on the opening day of the Conference will be delivered by Lewis Black, on a one-man mission to wake up Washington, along with the rest of the civilized world. His rants are famous from his previous appearances at Just For Laughs Festivals in Montreal and Toronto, as well as his popular Back In Black segment from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Black is not the only man with an opinion. Fellow ranter Andy Kindler performs yearly in a standing-room only presentation about the state of the comedy industry. No one is safe as he tears into and tears up, everyone in the industry, from performers to decision-makers.

Early registration to the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference starts now, with early bird prices in effect until April 5 at www.hahaha.com/conference. Submission and eligibility requirements for the Pitch ‘Til Your Sides Split program are also posted, while Comedy Bootcamp for Film requirements will be added on March 15.


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