Wheels of Fury
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Civil War Soda
Snail Mail is For Robots
About the Festival
The Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival was discontinued, as of 2012. The reason: times changed greatly since it began 14 years before. Then, a theater-venue festival for Chicago-made short comedy films was a real happening. Today, video-sharing websites are the preferred medium for short films. But for years, this was a big annual event in Chicago. Here is its history.
The Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival was an event that spotlighted the outstanding talents of Chicago's comedy and filmmaking community. It was started in 1998 by producer Marion Sours and comedy filmmaker Willy Laszlo, who had worked together on a live comedy variety show that included short comedy videos from Chicago filmmakers. The films were the hit of the show, and when the show's run ended, the two decided to develop a festival that would bring Chicago-made comedy shorts to the attention of a wider audience.
The festival's premiere in July of 1998 at the Ivanhoe Theater -- with two shows and 20 films -- was a sell-out success, filling more than 750 seats during the evening, an amazing achievement for a first-year film festival. Building on this popularity, the following year's show had three shows and 38 films, and again sold out. And so it continued, with large crowds, substantial media coverage, and most important – deserved attention was showered on the gifted Chicago comedy and filmmaking talents whose work has was screened.
In 2005, Willy moved to Los Angeles, where he now works in TV and film, and taking over as Festival Coordinators were M.T. Cozzola and James Gustin. James is a local filmmaker who owns a production house called Fig Media, Inc., and M.T. is a local writer and performer. Also providing valuable help to facilitate the theater screenings was long-time sponsor Cutters, which developed compilations of all the films in the projector format and running order required.
In 2005, an important new feature was added to the festival – a live jury. Made up of Chicagoans prominent in the comedy and filmmaking communities and the media, the jury members rated the films, and an award was given to the winning film. (See Award Winners page.)