Comedy Film Festival

    Without getting into the nitty gritty, 2018 has been a tough year for me. I was speaking to a close friend of mine and I told him that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had laughed. Really laughed. A good hearty belly laugh that makes you cry and just feel better. A good belly laugh is good for you body. Literally. It’s science. It’s a good way to get over and get through pain.

    So when this same friend showed up at my house the next day and said to get in the car with him, I had no idea what was going to happen. Part of me was hoping that he would put me out of my misery. But, I suspected that his motives were much more benevolent.

    So, we drove through downtown Portland together and found some parking and walked into the Fifth Street Cinema at Portland State University.

    “What is this?”

    “What is this?” He said. “This is the cure to your laughter problem. This is the Portland Comedy Film Festival.”

    I smiled. I probably looked pretty darn goofy. “A film festival? I’ve always wanted to go to one of those.”

    “Especially one guaranteed to illicit belly laughs,” He said, ushering me inside.

    Ranked in the Top 100 of film festivals in the entire world, I found out that it was going to happen for an entire weekend. A weekend of belly laughs? This sounded like the weekend that I needed. The festival celebrates comedic films from around the world. But, it’s more than watching movies. It’s a way to get insider information, a way to see how the sausage is made, if you will. Movie-makers and film aficionados get together for a little networking and tête-à-tête about films and the art of film making.

    And, of course, you get to watch a ton of short films.

    This year’s festival featured entries which all had a run time of under twenty-two minutes. I nearly lost my insides watching Justin O’Neal Miller’s “Peggy”. I cried myself blind at Canadian director Matt Popp’s “Luchador” and I nearly collapsed in hysterics during Brian Sutherin’s “West Of Broadway: The Audition.” The medicine was working. I felt better. Laughter truly was the best medicine.

    And, this was truly a national and international event, with over twenty-seven states and twenty-two countries represented. This was my first film festival, but it won’t be my last. And, I really do feel better.

    For more information on next years’ event, visit It’s a blast to have something like this available in art friendly Portland, Oregon. I give this festival, and the city of Portland, five stars. Or maybe two thumbs up.

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