Women in Comedy’s inaugural Short Screening

These filmmakers
are not only
naturally funny,
but they’ve also been
honing their chops
in professional
arenas for years

One of the most unique film collections of the year will light up the creative business incubator 2112 next week. The Chicago Women in Comedy’s Comedy Short Screening will culminate a six-month workshop designed to help a select group of artists complete and, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 27, present their individual projects.

If the movies turn out to be anywhere near as brilliant as the women who made them, it’ll be one hell of a show.

Wielding a combination of fearless energy, creative intellect, and rowdy sophistication, the filmmakers came together after submitting scripts for the six-month workshop that began in May.

“They have these backgrounds that are just amazing,” says Amber Nettles, the President of the organization, which is the Chicago chapter of the national Women in Comedy nonprofit. “They come from all different walks of life, and a few actually came out from L.A. to do this program.”

Nettles — whose experience includes five years of sketch and improv comedy to go along with 15 years of sales and marketing — says that the finalists were selected by a team of professionals that reviewed their scripts and backgrounds.

Then they were interviewed by Women In Comedy founder Victoria Elena Nones, who determined that, “they were ready to take this next step,” and the cohort began to take shape.

Andrea Vicunia explains the difference between Spain and Mexico in May at 2112
Andrea Vicunia explains the difference between Spain and Mexico in May at 2112

To mark the beginning of the extended workshop, each member of the group described their concepts to a packed-house during a special presentation and networking event at 2112. The presentations were just as inspiring as the film ideas — which included stories of adventure, dating, romance, music, coming-of-age, parenthood, witchcraft, career development, and a talking uterus.

On hand for the event was award winning creative producer director John Yaworsky, who will serve as a mentor for the filmmakers. After hearing the pitches, he told Reel Chicago that, “the objective now is to demonstrate how funny these women actually are.”

Yaworsky is a mentor and filmmaker with numerous credits on big budget and indie films like Alleyball, The Return of Joe Rich, Baggage, and Sandcastles. The advice he dishes tends to address practical and day-to-day matters like streamlining, delegating, and catering.

“Don’t feed them every other day with chicken and pizza, chicken and pizza,” he says. “Keep the days fun and interesting.”

Shelby Anderson and Vicky Wong pitch "But, Still" in May at 2112
Shelby Anderson and Vicky Wong pitch “But, Still” in May at 2112

He emphasizes functional issues because these women are not just naturally funny, but most of them been honing their chops in professional arenas for years. Besides a handful of nationally recognized script and film competition winners, the cohort includes more than a few who have developed and produced their own work.

“The greatest challenge now is finding the right crew,” Nettles told Reel Chicago back in May. “They have the content, and the pitches were awesome.”

Below are the bios of the filmmakers and the ideas they announced months ago. To see how they shaped up during the process, get to 2112 next Thursday night.

 
 
BIOS, PITCHES, AND DESCRIPTIONS

How To Date For The Modern Woman
By Terah Jene, a comedy writer with experience in sketch as well as performance

         It’s Friday night, and Sarah, an indecisive Millennial, is getting ready for her date with Brian, who is, like, so hot — he’s like John Mullaney hot. She’s not good at dating. She’s awful with dating. She gets her dating advice from, like, Buzz Feed. So for this particular date she decides to go and look at some magazines for advice.
         But then, there’s a shooting star, and she makes a wish because she is desperate and she wishes she had all the answers for tonight. And she does get her wish: the magazines come to life and they make it her their mission to make sure Sara has a successful date.
         We have one magazine that’s like the New Yorker and it’s telling her not to play with her food because there’s starving children in Zambia. Then we have another magazine that is like Cosmopolitan and it’s telling her how to suck his d—k properly. It’s a really fun script. It has a PeeWee’s playhouse vibe because there’s puppets, and a Sex in the City vibe, and also Jason.

 
 
The Sore Losers
By Katie Norregaard, a Writer, improviser, musician, and content creator in general who has screened at the Brooklyn web fest and created a six-episode comedic web series, “Ah, Man,” that was featured in the Huffington Post.

         Two queer roommates in their early 20s that have these big dreams of being kick-ass rock stars. They’re in a band called the Sore Losers. The problem is, the only gigs that they’re getting are children’s birthday parties, so that has to change.
         So when the opportunity comes for them to play a legit show put on by Tess’s crush Emery — ooooh — they’re definitely committed to rebooting themselves becoming these kick ass rock stars. But Tess has to decide between her family obligations at her mom’s Chinese restaurant and her dreams.
         Meanwhile, Dylan, the other roommate, is struggling with being respected and seen as a non-binary trans-person while working at a masculine bro-y bike shop.
         Both of them are learning, even if you’re a sore loser, you might still have to pick a fight and put up one.

 
 
Bloody Show
By Allison Schier, a comedy writer and improviser who has “put on several shows in my friends’ basements, so that’s cool.”

         A comedic web series that’s kind of a mix between Broad City and Wilfred, if you are familiar.
         It’s about Amy. She’s a 31-year-old misfit who doesn’t really fit in anywhere and she’s trying to get her life together before she turns 35 and her biological clock starts winding down. The only support that she has is an imaginary friend who is a uterus.
         Men, I’m sorry if you feel alienated, but it’s our time now, so I’d really like to talk to you about it. I’ve got a concept sketch of said uterus.

 
 
The Cucumber
By Andrea Vicunia, an LA-based filmmaker and comedian whose last short, Stereotyped, won Best Underrepresented Filmmaker at the SHAPE AT&T Film Awards, and a shorter version of the script was filmed at Warner Brothers.

         A show of hands: how many people think I’m Latina? Okay, I’m going to leave this here for places where I’m not from. Where I am from? I’m from Spain.
         This is that part of the entertainment industry, an autobiographical piece where I follow the story of Andy, a Spaniard young actress who arrives in LA just to discover that she’s a walking Latina stereotype.
         So it will go through her new Valley Girl best friend, Ashley, her queer agent, Jamie, and her love for this hot London hipster that she can’t take off her mind. It’s a story about making dreams come true or having to go home.

 
 
Roof’s Basement
By Claire Kane, Writer and performer

         Two young entrepreneurs with affluent backgrounds decide to start a business of flipping comedy clubs. But instead, with all the money they were given, they hire a film crew.
         So it just follows them trying to raise money and deal with working class people, which they don’t understand how that works. Nor do they understand how film works.

 
 
But, Still
By Shelby Anderson and Vicky Wong, writing partners whose projects have been featured twice in the Works by Limits festival and who performed in Chicago’s first and only Asian and Pacific Islander Improv Show. “You’re welcome.”

         SA: The story follows Alice, a fourteen-year-old who loves stars and eating lunch with old women in her neighborhood and, today, she’s on a mission to win the mentorship of Nat, a very stoic news anchor who’s recently been fired from her job for punching a man on camera.
         And on this one day in the summer of 1995 in Chicago, Nat finds solace in Alice very begrudgingly and they both are not to apologize for their anger ever.
         VW: I was into the language and tone of this short film. It’s very short. It’s very straightforward. There’s not really many underlying… there’s no double meaning or secret malicious intent. What they say is what they mean.
         I would also say this is a story about mentorship. Think a very grumpy older character, who very reluctantly takes a young wide-eyed person under their wing.

 
 
Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.

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