London Comedy Film Festival Imminent

LoCo bring The Muppets, Edgar Wright, The Day Off and much more to BFI Southbank this week

Amid the verbal brickbats and bouquets surrounding the Oscar nominations, one curious fact tends to be overlooked: in its 80-plus years the Academy Award for best picture has only been won by a comedy four times, with such icons of funny as Charlie Chaplin, Peter Sellers and Leslie Nielsen never picking up a little golden man.

Founded in 2010, LoCo aims to reassert the primacy of cinematic humour via special screenings, education, a developmental fund and the inaugural London Comedy Festival, which runs from Thursday to Sunday this week. The short but jam-packed programme boasts a preview of The Muppets, ahead of its wider UK release on February 10. Bucking the Disneyfication which long-term fans feared following Mickey Mouse’s purchase of the franchise last decade, this reboot largely stays true to the late, great Jim Henson’s irreverent spirit. Bret ‘Flight Of The Conchords’ McKenzie oversees its bittersweet musical numbers, while leading man/co-writer Jason Segel’s big business-baiting plot – in brief, an evil Texan magnate plans to demolish their old theatre to drill for oil – has prompted reliably nutjob right-wingers Fox News to accuse Kermit and co of brainwashing your kids against capitalism.

Edgar Wright has been chosen as the first annual LoCo Hero. The Spaced and Hot Fuzz director will introduce his own zom-com Shaun Of The Dead and Mike Leigh’s much-loved Life Is Sweet (a prime influence on the former), then take part in a Q&A. Further highlights include an early outing for French festival hit The Fairy and the world premiere performance of lost, could-have-been Brit classic The Day Off, rejected by Tony Hancock and subsequently shelved by script masters Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, both of whom will be present for this cast read-through and discussion.

These gala events are supplemented by a raft of panels and workshops for budding rib-ticklers. You can watch a trailer for the festival below and there’s more information at the LoCo website.

LoCo presents THE LONDON COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL 2012 from LoCo Film Festival on Vimeo.

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