Alice Lowe and Steve Oram help out next generation of film talent

Sightseers - Alice Lowe and Steve Oram
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The stars of Sightseers are joining a host of comedy talent to support a new feature film development project.

Comedy development organisation Cofilmic is launching a new Comedy Lab to help comedy talent develop feature films, and is looking for new entrants now. 
 
Janet Harrison, the founder of Cofilmic, said: ‘We’ve had a really good response - we had six applications within an hour of the launch, although we want as many as possible so we can have a choice of people.
 
‘I guess it’s a bit of an irritation for me that comedy films aren’t taken very seriously - excuse the pun - in this country. You see at award ceremonies, very few comedy films get awards, but talking to screen agencies, they all say they want more comedy films as it’s something that people want to watch. It’s a bit of a paradox.’
 
The Lab, held in association with Creative England, will consist of four days of workshops spread over two months, with afternoons dedicated to a small group of experienced writers, and the mornings open to people who have any casual interest in comedy.
 
Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, most recently seen together in the critically-acclaimed Sightseers, will speak alongside Ricky Gervais collaborator Charlie Hanson at the first day. 
 
Later sessions will see directors, as well as representatives from BFI, Screen Yorkshire, Creative England, production companies, and commissioners from TV attend.
 
 
Adds Janet: ‘The whole point of the talent network is to bring together lots of people from the comedy industry - not just filmmakers, as there are comedians who write very well who filmmakers could learn from, and vice versa. It’s bringing everyone together and trying to collaborate. 
 
‘I think comedians have to be careful that they’re not just telling jokes. A film has got to be funny if it’s a comedy film, but it’s also about the character and how to tell that story - one of the sessions is on maintaining a funny idea over 90 minutes, which is very different to a sketch or a sitcom. It’s not just about jokes - it’s about storytelling, the characters and them having heart so people want to watch that.
 
‘The bit that makes us different from other film festivals is that we are incorporating people from live and broadcast comedy and mixing that up to try and create something unique. There will also be a series of workshops afterwards so that if anyone comes up with another good idea we can collaborate and try to get that made.’
 
Creative England also has script develop funds available for strong ideas that are discovered during the workshops. 
 
The comedy shorts competition is expected to return later this year in an expanded format.
 
Applications close on Tuesday 28 May. Find out more on the Cofilmic website.
 
 

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