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American Cinematheque presents

Off-site: Laughing Through Fire: Comedy as a Compass

A person smiling on a bed and holding a phone.
July 20, 2024 - 4:00 pm
post-screening Q&A with Andrea A. Walter (Writer-Director, I'm In Love with Edgar Alan Poe), Ella Jay Basco (Actor, I'm In Love with Edgar Alan Poe), Neal Suresh Mulani (writer-director-actor-producer, RAT!), Lottie Abrahams (Producer, RAT!), Katie White (Producer, ILY, Bye), Molly Hallam (Producer, 100% USDA...), Mireia Vilanova (Producer, 100% USDA...).

Tickets will be available through the American Cinematheque website.

Making it through the day these days is no joke. Whether enduring the menacing auras of nameless social media accounts, battling the apartment-bound anxiety of remote existence, struggling to find a job that pays the bills, or surviving your passive aggressive co-workers at the one you’ve got … finding your way through the minefield of modern times often feels like a daunting — let alone exhausting — hustle. But through the revelatory lenses found on display in this hilarious program of sharply observed short films, laughter illuminates a path forward even in the darkest of comedies.

By raising their voices to speak truth against the powers that be, the multifaceted characters across these side-splitting stories battle the ills of contemporary existence without apology. They confront the consequences of life spilling off your smartphone and into the real world, let alone the inter-dimensional ramifications of your extracurricular witchcraft practice. They bend the rules of “late stage capitalism” as deftly as they aim to overcome it. Win or lose, they tell it like it is.

And so do the talented filmmakers behind each of these visions, who demonstrate tremendous clarity of expression in both their styles and points of view as queer and trans people working to make sense of an increasingly convoluted world around them. Fittingly, their films incorporate clever genre-blending, boundless fantasy, and a taste of the extremely online to reflect their realities. Lose yourself in the halls of this cinematic funhouse, using humor to guide your escape.

—Queer Rhapsody Senior Programmer Daniel Crooke

ILY, Bye

U.S., 2023  |  Narrative 

Chaotic striver Siobhan embarks upon an unhinged, undercover mission in order to delete a series of ill-advised voicemails she left on the answering machine of a prospective employer.

Digital, 13 min. Director: Taylor James. With: Megan Stalter, Kanoa Goo, Rainn Wilson, Douglas E. Porter.

Watch trailer:


100% USDA Certified Organic Homemade Tofu

U.S., 2022  |  Narrative

Nikki spices things up at her mom's struggling tofu restaurant while working to afford her breast augmentation surgery.

Digital, 14 min. Director: Gbenga Komolafe. Screenwriter: Tee Park. With: Austria Wang, Miju Kim Pascual, Twon Marcel Pope.

Watch trailer:


Dilating for Maximum Results

U.S., 2023  |  Narrative 

Dreya is a Black trans woman desperate to dilate for the first time in four years so she can hook up IRL with her online boyfriend.

Digital, 14 min. Director: Nyala Moon. With: Nyala Moon, Alexandria Benford, Anders Geipel.

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im in love with edgar allan poe

U.S., 2024  |  Narrative 

Two goth besties search for chicken innards for a ritual to resurrect Edgar Allan Poe.

Digital, 13 min. Director: Andrea A. Walter. Screenwriter: Andrea A. Walter. With: Ella Jay Basco, Blu del Barrio, Kian Talan, Derek Basco, Olga Natividad.

2 Dollars

U.S., 2020  |  Narrative

Feeling suffocated by their soul-sucking office job and ignorant co-workers, artist Syd finds a possible escape hatch in the form of the lottery.

Digital, 15 min. Director: Robin Cloud. Screenwriter: Robin Cloud. With: Karissa Lee Staples, Mike Caravella, Lisa Goodman, Andrew Joseph Perez, Veralyn Jones.

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U.S., 2024  |  Narrative 

When a disgruntled music journalist accuses a global pop star of queerbaiting, the singer’s devoted fans seek retribution.

Digital, 17 min. Director: Neal Suresh Mulani. Screenwriter: Neal Suresh Mulani. With: Neal Suresh Mulani, Tyler Joseph Ellis, Jacob Berger, Caitlin Reilly, Charles Gould.

Watch trailer:


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