Posted by: adventuressetravels | August 12, 2011

Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival

Everybody loves a good laugh.  That said, what one man finds hilarious may be utterly lost on his friend.  Taste in comedy can run the gambit.  Some people enjoy slapstick, others cerebral humor, fart jokes and rude humor tickle quite a few funny bones…. humor has many forms.

I have a special place in myself am partial to intelligent humor, but I do like a little bit of everything.  That is one of the reasons I adore the monthly Iron Mule short comedy film festival.  The first Saturday of each month never fails to be a delightful hodgepodge of humor in many forms.

Founded in 2002, as First Sundays it is New York’s longest running short comedy film festival and it never fails to be surprising entertaining, and innovative.  Writer, director, producer Jay Stern and comedian, actor, and director Victor Varnado are your hosts and MCs, introducing the films with their witty banter.  As enjoyable as live entertainment can be, the main event are really the films.

More than 700 films from all over the world have been hand-picked and screened at Iron Mule, and the bar of excellence continues to rise.  The criteria for submission are short, no film over 30 minutes is accepted, but films are generally less than 15 minutes, and of course amusing.

Stern and Varnado are on the cutting edge of choosing hilarious films for their audience.  In fact, some the films shown have gone on to screen at Sundance, Cannes, HBO, IFC, the BBC, and numerous other locations.  One thing is certain, the selection is always a diverse array of comedy, from cartoons to mocumentaries, you really never know what you’ll see.  Just that they’ll be comedies.

Between screenings, Stern and Varnado interview the directors and producers who are able to attend.   Meeting the films’ creators, and learning more about the creative impetus behind them is always fascinating.   Even better, many of them stick around to chat with festival-goers at the after party.  Not only will you be able to say you saw the director’s early work, before it went on to sweep the independent festival circuit, but you can rub elbows with them at a film festival after party.

As with any film festival there are awards.  As the festival draws to a close the audience and judges vote on their favorite films.  When votes are tallied the winner or winners are selected for the judges choice and the audience choice.  Prestige, acclaim, and success are no doubt in store for the talented winners.  But that’s not all folks.  There is still more to the spectacular…

Did watching the comedy shorts make you want to act yourself?  Well, Iron Mule can make that happen.  Audience members who want to star in their own comedy short can mark the “So You Want to Be a Star” box on the ballot.   Audience members call out titles for a comedy short, it is almost invariably something random, but the first title is always chosen.  After the title a name is drawn, and one of Iron Mule’s directors takes on the task of writing directing, filming and producing this comedy short before the next Iron Mule.  The final film in each festival is the monthly “So You Want to be a Star” film.

If you’re in New York on the first Saturday of the month go down to the 92Y at 200 Hudson Street in TriBeCa and check out Iron Mule.  A mere $10 for the chance to see fantastic films, meet up and coming directors, and get to see live entertainment.  You really can’t go wrong.

The Iron Mule website is:



  1. Sounds great! Let us know when they put the show on the web. Otherwise, we in the boonies must rely on the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World for cover-to-cover comic relief.

  2. Last April, I went to the L.A. Comedy Shorts film festival and it was awesome! I saw a panel with Wayne Brady and Jeff Garland, hilarious. There was a lot of networking, met a ton of people, made great connections and I didn’t even have a film there. My friend was one of the screenplay finalists for the feature screenplay competition. She didn’t end up winning, but she said she felt like she won because she had such a good time and a couple of huge companies requested her script. Definitely on my future submit list.

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