Sadly, last night was the closing night of the wonderful Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. I can honestly say this was the most fun and most meaningful film festival I've ever attended. From warmth of the folks attending, the high quality of the films, and especially the generosity of the organizers, it is one I will long remember.
Last night was a world premiere of the excellent documentary When Comedy Went to School, directed by Ron Frank (photo above) and Mevlut Akkaya at Laemmle's Town Center in Encino, California. Larry King, who appeared in the film, generously gave of his time to meet with the press and festival attendees before the screening, and spoke to the audience before the film. Afterwards, director Ron Frank and Buddy Hacket's son, Sandy Hackett, himself a comic and producer, participated in a panel discussion, amusingly moderated by comic Judy Carter. The film was sold out days in advance, so they had to open another theatre to accommodate everyone that wanted to see it.
The film When Comedy Went to School documents the incredibly strong influence the Catskills Resort area in New York State had on the development of Jewish comedy in the United States and beyond. From the twenties to the sixties, The Catskills vacation area proved an exellent training ground for famous comics like Sid Caeser, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller and dozens of others. In this beautiful, supportive environment, they learned their craft, hone their timing, and developed into some of the funniest individuals who have ever walked the earth. The film itself is very funny, with footage of many of these now-famous comics delivering some of their best lines. A fitting end to a most enjoyable festival.
LA Jewish Film Festival website: lajfilmfest.org
Joy's Flickr site for more photos: flickr.com/joybennett