NY Friars Club Announces Festival

The Friars Club Comedy Film Festival 

OPENING NIGHT, THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24th WILL BE THE U.S. PREMIERE OF JOEL & ETHAN COEN’S A SERIOUS MAN

New York, NY, September 9th, 2009 — The Friars Club Comedy Film Festival will open its inaugural year on Thursday, September 24thwith the U.S. premiere of A Serious Man – the new film from Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel & Ethan Coen. The Focus Features release will subsequently open in select U.S. cities on Friday, October 2nd.

The Coen Brothers have made some of the most celebrated films of our time, including No Country for Old MenFargoRaising ArizonaThe Big LebowskiBurn After Reading, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Many of their films are characterized by a dark and subversive sense of humor, provoking laughter from audiences – at bleak moments for the Coens’ idiosyncratic characters.

Imaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality, and Judaism – and intersections thereof – the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man will open the festival at the world-famous Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan; Joel & Ethan Coen and cast members will join Friars in attendance.

The festival’s Executive Director Charlie Prince and Director Susannah Gora are both Friars who work in the film and entertainment industry, and are passionate about movies.

Prince comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled; Joel & Ethan Coen are the rare filmmakers who finesse consistently original work that inspires, work which represents exactly the kind of filmmaking we seek to champion here at the Friars Club.

A Serious Man is one of their most unique and accomplished movies. It’s ideal to open our festival with, because it goes to the core of what is dark and personal – yet ever-present – in humor.”

The movie will kick off the first-ever four-day festival of movies presented by the legendary Friars Club – whose membership includes the world’s funniest actors and comedians. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Friars Foundation.

The festival’s other programs – many soon to be announced – will be presented among the following categories;

New Works – offering new filmmakers a forum to screen their comedy movies, culled from submissions, for an audience

Classics – special screenings at which luminaries from the world of comedy will introduce their favorite classic comedies and host discussions; movies will feature such legendary Friars as W.C. Fields, Jerry Lewis, and Dean Martin

Panels – Discussions with such filmmakers as Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon (Night at the Museum), David Wain (Role Models), and John Hamburg and Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man)

In announcing the festival, Friars Club Executive Director Michael Gyure said the events are logical extensions of the club’s comedic history, noting, “Our Friars have starred in many of the world’s best-loved comedy movies; from the Marx Brothers and Frank Sinatra’s ‘Rat Pack,’ to Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg.

“This festival will both showcase classic comedies and give new comedy films an arena to find an audience.”

Information regarding purchasing tickets and Festival passes is available at www.friarsclub.com/filmfestival.

The Friars Club Comedy Film Festival’s Board of Advisors are Danny Aiello, Chris Albers, Michael Barker, Chuck Barris, Joy Behar, Richard Belzer, Tom Bernard, Marty Bregman, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Gil Cates, Dick Cavett, Dominic Chianese, Tom Fontana, Robert Ben Garant, Judy Gold, Anita Jaffe, Victor Kubicek, Lisa Lampanelli, Nathan Lane, Thomas Lennon, Samm Levine, Jerry Lewis, Susan Lucci, Michael Lynne, Mace Neufeld, Rick Newman, Vincent Pastore, Joe Piscopo, Paul Provenza, Al Roker, Freddie Roman, Rory Rosegarten, Jeffrey Ross, and Alan Zweibel.

The Friars Foundation was established in 1977 as the charitable arm of the Friars Club. The mission of the Foundation is to help small performing arts groups create innovative and affordable programs that will educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of diverse audiences and participants. Additionally, the Foundation helps prepare the next generation of performers and musical artists through scholarship programs for students studying the performing arts.

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