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November 4, 2000

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Themestream rating 4 stars

Laughing Boy and the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival
by Brazil J. Grisaffi
November 4, 2000

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L to R: Brazil J. Grisaffi, Sheila Sawyer and Terry Cronin.

My independent film LAUGHING BOY was accepted to the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival 2000 in Florida which took place on September 9th. The festival was a small one-day event, but it was also our best festival experience yet and a day I will never forget.

The Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (MIFF) scored points with me right away when I learned there was no entry fee. After checking out their website, www.3boysproductions.com, I also learned that all the proceeds they raise from the festival go to charity, Unconditional Love, Inc., a non-for-profit HIV patient care center. I do not know of any other film festivals that donate all their profits to charity. Other festivals should take note of this. More points scored.

We arrived in Florida the night before the festival, Friday, Sept. 8. We stopped at a gas station to pick up the Florida Today newspaper to see if there was any press for MIFF. We were pleased to see a full page article about the festival, the article even referred to LAUGHING BOY as a "top contender." Even better, LAUGHING BOY was the only film from the festival with a photograph printed. Very cool. I had mailed a publicity photo to Florida Today a couple of weeks prior to the festival and I was thrilled to see they used it.

The second Friday of every month the city of Melbourne throws a street party downtown, and MIFF had a booth set up right in the middle of it all. The men and women of MIFF were out there aggressively promoting their festival, something I have not seen from other festivals either. More points scored. We met Terry Cronin and the rest of the 3 boys, and they as well as the rest of their staff were very friendly. Their enthusiasm for what they were trying to accomplish was refreshing.

Tickets to the daytime screenings were five dollars. Not five dollars per movie, but five dollars for the entire daytime program! More points scored. The day seemed to start with around 40 audience members. By the time LAUGHING BOY screened, around 3:30, the audience had doubled.

This was by far our best audience to date. There were just over 80 people in the audience and they really got into the movie. They laughed at everything they were supposed to, and even some things that hadn't gotten a reaction from past audiences. People even GASPED as Cody's car almost hits Roland's BMW! "Shut up" was still the biggest laugh in the movie. A "tsk-tsk" could also be heard after the McJesus Drive-Thru cartoon...but that's okay!

Afterwards, LAUGHING BOY got more raves than ever before. People complimented the entire cast, stating "they were clearly trained actors" and also something like "the cast isn't supposed to be that good in a low-budget movie." People wanted to by the video right there on the spot. Other things heard were "you really know your craft" and "it shows that it came from the heart." I got the Dennis Quaid, Norm McDonald and Steve martin comparisons again, but this time JACK NICHOLSON as well.

There was a party held Saturday evening at the theater as well as a 2-hour presentation of short films and trailers, some that had already been shown that afternoon. Admission to the party was $30, but remember it all goes to charity. There was free beer and food as well. I was pleased to see there was at least 150 people in attendance, possibly even 200.

The Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival 2000 was an enormously successful event. The only thing I found awkward was the Q&A session in the middle of the day. I was invited to be on the panel, and I think I had some good information to share, but nobody had seen LAUGHING BOY yet, so they obviously couldn't ask me anything specific about my movie.

I highly recommend people to submit their work to MIFF next year. 3 Boys productions puts on this event because they truly enjoy it, and it shows. Hats off to you guys!

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