One of Canada’s greatest entertainment exports has long been its seemingly endless supply of talented comedians. Just putting Canada and comedy in the same sentence instantly brings to mind the classic sketch comedy show SCTV, through which such comic geniuses as Martin Short, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Catherine O’Hara, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy and many others launched inspired international careers. And then there’s Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Dan Ackroyd, Seth Rogan, Will Arnett, Tommy Chong, Leslie Nielsen, Tom Green…
This year’s Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival will highlight three new Canadian comedians – Pat Mills, Sonja Bennett, and Dan Abramovici—whom we feel certain will soon find themselves with the same household recognition in the U.S. that their veteran counterparts enjoy. With the Festival’s renowned capacity for being ahead-of-the-mainstream-curve, don’t miss a first chance to meet this talented, rapidly ascending trio.
Leading off the list is a Festival coup—the U.S. premiere of Guidance; Pat Mills wrote, directed and stars as David Gold, a thirtysomething former child star, full-time narcissist and completely out-of-work actor who desperately impersonates a qualified high school guidance counselor and lands himself a job doling out advice to troubled teens. Essentially still stuck in his adolescence himself, David is an immediate hit with the student body, doling out vodka shots and prescribing pot as immediate solutions to insecurities and anxieties. Mills’ screwball comedy approach is perfectly in line with his character’s out-of-whack unconventionality. The film will play at the Coral Gables Art Cinema on Thursday, March 12 at 9:30pm.
Vancouver-based actress Sonja Bennett wrote the script for Preggoland, in which she stars as Ruth, a party girl whose hootin’ and hollerin’ ways are no longer too attractive to her pack of gal pal friends as they enter their mid-30s and start settling into suburban lifestyles and having babies. But when a chance encounter in a baby store leads to a (false) assumption that Ruth is pregnant, Ruth is buoyed by the sudden surge in attention that envelopes her, and goes along with the fake pregnancy. Channeling the best qualities of the self-aware and self-depreciating “Sex and the City” characters, Bennett’s dialogue and dialogue delivery provide a great deal of laughs. The film plays at the Regal Cinemas South Beach on Wednesday, March 11at 9:00 PM, with a repeat screening scheduled on March 13 at Cinépolis in Cocowalk at 9:30 PM.
Rounding out the new comic trio is young actor and short filmmaker Dan Abramovici in Ben’s at Home, who has made the ultimate new world order fantasy where everything can be ordered in—food, sex, love – and shipped out – work, family obligations—all without leaving the comfort of one’s home. It works for awhile…until it doesn’t. The one-liners fly fast and furious, and Abramovici and his co-scenarist Mars Horodyski invent the most painfully funny (and perhaps only) game of strip foosball yet seen on the big screen. The film plays at Regal Cinemas South Beach on Saturday, March 14 at 6:30 PM.
All three screenplays are up for the $5,000 cash Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award for Best First-Produced Screenplay in this year’s Festival. The Canadians are joined in the Festival by their countryman Maxime Giroux (marking his second appearance at the Festival, after 2011’s Jo for Jonathan), who has made a moving drama Felix and Meira, set in Montreal’s Hasidic Jewish community. All Canadian films in this year’s Festival are supported by Telefilm Canada and the Consulate General of Canada in Miami. The screening of Felix and Meira is further supported by the Quebec Ministry of International Relations, Quebec Trade Office – Southern Office (Atlanta), and SODEC Quebec. – Jaie Laplante