Source: Francesca Cirilli - TorinoFilmLab


Turin-based script development organisation TorinoFilmLab (TFL) has unveiled the first projects and participants for ComedyLab, its new annual programme for developing feature film comedies.

ComedyLab pairs directors and scriptwriters with comedians to help develop comedy feature film projects. From 89 applications, ComedyLab has selected four projects and will pair them with four writers/comedians.

The four projects are: Bootleg by writer/director Reem Morsi (Egypt); Honeyjoon by writer/director Lilian T. Mehrel (USA); The Last Queen by writer/director Stefano La Rosa (Italy) together with the co-writer/director Luca Renucci (Italy); and Midlife by writer/director Alex Sobolev (Ukraine).

They will be matched with four writers/comedians: Tatiana Delaunay (France), Cecilia Gragnani (Italy), Kate Hammer (Canada) and Michael Kunze (USA).

TFL announced ComedyLab last year, saying it had recognised a need for a dedicated comedy initiative. During TFL’s 16 years of operation, it has received very few comedy projects.

The ComedyLab teaching team is composed of US multidisciplinary artist and creator Alec Von Bargen (USA), who will shape the programme with Italian consultant Savina Neirotti They are joined by two script experts: France’s Philippe Barrière and Laura Piani (France). Former Le Pacte head of acquisition Thomas Pibarot will assist in exploring their potential and establishing connections with the film industry.

The first ComedyLab workshop takes place in April with another scheduled for June in Porto. A final pitching session takes place at TorinoFilmLab’s co-production market in Turin from November 21–23.

ComedyLab is organised by TorinoFilmLab - National Museum of Cinema with the support of the Creative Europe Media programme. Other supporters are the City of Porto with Filmaporto – Film Commission, Portugal Film Commission, ICA - Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual, Festival CineComedies and Torino Fringe Festival.

Comedylab projects

(project descriptions supplied by TorinoFilmLab)

Writer/director Reem Morsi (Egypt)
Bootleg is a feminist comedy about Roukaya, an outwardly obedient middle-class woman, who dreams of her wedding night. She joins her immigrant groom in the US, but her marriage proves unsatisfactory. She decides to return to Egypt. Seeking satisfaction, she starts a risky underground manufacturing business, with the support of two other women, Eman & Shadia.

Writer/director Lilian T. Mehrel (US)
A Kurdish-Persian mother and her diaspora daughter take a trip to enjoy life after loss, but life (and each other) keeps getting in the way.

The Last Queen
Writer/director Stefano La Rosa (It), co-writer/director Luca Renucci (It)
In a small village of the Venitian lagoon, Lorena, a working-class woman, lives the most normal life built around order, security and efficiency. One day, she receives unexpected news: according to a healer, she is the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette. Lorena discovers the eccentric world of the Italian fallen nobility and ends up realizing that she has accepted a way of life without ever questioning it.

Writer/director Alex Sobolev (Ukraine)
Egor returns to Ukraine after a challenging five years in America. His marriage and business have fallen apart. And now he hopes to start from scratch back home. Zofia broke up with her girlfriend and now dreams of becoming a mother. Egor is the perfect donor for her future child. That is a very complicated relationship in which Egor and Zofia try to use each other in a race to chase their dream.

Writers & Comedians

(biogs supplied by TorinoFilmLab)

Tatiana Delaunay (Fr)
French born, Italian raised comedy writer and director. Her comedy short, Have a Nice Day Forever, was awarded and shown at numerous festivals including IndieLisboa, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Brest European Short Film Festival and Brussels Short Film Festival.

Cecilia Gragnani (It)
After getting a degree in Music and Modern Literature, she completed her performance studies at Drama Centre - Central Saint Martins. Since then, she has been working as a performer and writer/dramaturg. She co-wrote the documentary Maradonapoli distributed by Warner Bros Italy, the sitcom Che Classe! by Indiana Productions for Rai International.

Kate Hammer (Can)
She is a stand-up, sketch, and improv comedian originally from Canada, currently residing in Scotland. Having performed at Just For Laughs, Latitude Festival, and Late N Live, she is a regular performer around the UK.

Michael Kunze (US)
London based writer, actor, director and improviser originally from California. His work has appeared at Soho Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Pleasance Theatre, Kings Head Pub, the Arcola, and the National Theatre of Ireland.