U.S. Comedy Arts Festival to Blast off with "Napoleon Dynamite"
by Brian Brooks
The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival announced its line-up yesterday, including eight world premieres, with Jared Hess' 2004 Sundance Film Festival competition film "Napoleon Dynamite" opening the event March 3rd in Aspen, CO. In all the festival will screen 22 features and 19 shorts from around the world. The festival's American Independents section features films that have made their way through major festivals during the past year. Zach Braff's "Garden State," also in competition at last month's Sundance Film Festival, will screen in the sidebar. Stephen Fry's "Bright Young Things," which screened recently at the Miami International Film Festival in that fest's premieres section, will play the fest, along with Jeff Balsmeyer's "Danny Deckchair." From Toronto 2003 hails Guy Maddin's "The Saddest Music in the World" starring Isabella Rossellini, while Danish director Lone Scherfig's "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself" will also unspool. The film screened at the Berlinale in 2003.
France's official Oscar entry for this year's best foreign language competition, "Bon Voyage" by Jean-Paul Rappeneau will screen in the USCAF 'foreign language collection.' Also set is Wolfgang Becker's European Film Awards-winner "Good Bye, Lenin!" as well as Anders Thomas Jensen's "The Green Butchers," Josef Fares' "Kops," and Icelandic director Dagur Kari's "Noi Albinoi."
The festival's docs include Sundance winner "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock as well as fellow Sundance alum "The Yes Men" by Dan Ollman, Sarah Price and Chris Smith. Also screening in the section is Laura Kightlinger and Jack Black's "60 Spins Around the Sun." USCAF's world premieres include Eric Fleming's "The Almost Guys," Scott Dikker's "Bad Meat," Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko's "Mail Order Bride," Jon Gunn, Brian Herzlinger and Brett Winn's "My Date with Drew," Wallace Wolodorsky's "Seeing Other People," David Rosenthal's "See This Movie," Peter Richardson's "Stella Street," and Richard Day's "Straight-Jacket."
"We are very pleased at the strength and depth of the films this year," commented Kevin Haasarud, film discovery program director in an event release. "They are powerful examples of how entertaining, poignant and socially-relevant humor can be." In addition to the regular roster, the festival will also host a Peter Sellers retrospective, featuring "The Pink Panther," "The Mouse That Roared," and "Dr. Strangeglove." Additionally, the fest will screen a "works-in-progress series," called "Jeff Ross in Iraq," documenting the USO tour with comedians Jeff Ross, Drew Carey and others. The festival continues through March 7th.