Sunday, October 22, 2023

NewFest 2023 Review: MAKE ‘EM LAUGH (Short Film Collection)


 Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

While most people tend to focus their attention on feature films, it's the short films that can really blow you away. Taking a story or an idea and giving it straight to you, with no filler, is an art form in itself, but being able to captivate the audience and leave an impression on them after such a small amount of time is something totally different. And there are several short films in this collection that do just that, so join me as I shine a spotlight on some of my favorites from this year's "Make 'Em Laugh" collection from NewFest 2023.


Synopsis: A young dominatrix encounters an unexpected client.

This short is my favorite of the bunch. It opened the collection and was so unexpected and hilarious. The dialogue between the two characters is top notch, and the ending had me laughing so loud. It was the perfect way to start things off.


Synopsis: A whack irreverent comedy about a black trans woman who tries to dilate, after four years of not dilating, to hook-up IRL with her online boyfriend.

This was a phenomenal short. It has such a quirky style to it, which I absolutely loved, and while it's a fairly simple story at its core -- the search for someone who will love you for who you are -- it tells it in such a fun, unique way that you can't help but enjoy it.

Nyala Moon created such an incredibly sweet story, while also being very informative about what it's like being a trans woman, and her performance as Dreya was wonderful.


Synopsis: After opening a portal to another dimension, Grover and his best friend Alice face the perilous unintended consequences of their actions.

Witchcraft, pizza, and punk rock music? That's exactly the sort of thing that will draw me in, and this short film has it all. It starts off so simple -- guy conjures up a slice of pizza -- but it takes a wild turn at the end that I just wasn't expecting, and it was awesome!


Synopsis: Alice and Paul are best friends who do everything together, but when Alice reveals that she went to Six Flags without Paul, he starts to question their friendship. Oh, and they're hired assassins.

It's rare that I find short films in the action genre, which is disappointing because there's so much potential for great stories to be told, just like this one. Yes, it's a film about contract killers, but what it's really about is friendship and what that bond really means. This film does a great job balancing the action and the humor, and does an even better job at building up the character development for our two leads. I would gladly watch a full length version of this.


Synopsis: Charlie and Gerald revive their failed 2000's boyband, 2N1, for a competition with prize money that could remedy all of their financial woes. What could go wrong?

Comedian Taran Killam gets in the directing chair for this hilarious short film that feels like something out of Saturday Night Live, and I mean that in all the best ways. Filled with sharp humor, surprise cameos, and one hilariously bad song that will get stuck in your head for days, this film is one that needs to be given the feature length treatment, maybe something similar to Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

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