Comedy is a strange one. In 2009, it was the most successful genre at the UK box office, with 20% of overall ticket sales – yet only five comedy films have ever one Best Picture at the Academy Awards. So while comedy is much-loved, it seems it is as equally overlooked when it comes to due credit. It is this that has inspired The London Comedy Film Festival into existence and 2012 is its first year.

With screenings, education and above all funding, the festival seeks to keep comedy and more specifically British comedy alive and kicking. Not only do I think is a fantastic and a much-needed idea, but they have truly delivered and put on four days of outstanding events, highlighting the very best Britain has to offer, past and present, in the world of comedy.

If Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe are the shoulders on which the future of British comedy lies – then we are in very safe hands indeed.

I was lucky enough to attend ‘Loco Discovery’, which is the first of a regular annual event at the festival to screen a new British comedy feature film that does not as yet have distribution. This year was Black Pond directed by Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe.

If Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe are the shoulders on which the future of British comedy lies – then we are in very safe hands indeed. This, their debut feature film, exhibits film-making and comedy writing maturity well beyond their years. It has an exciting and fresh originality about it that is truly mesmerizing. If any film at the festival could highlight what it is the London Comedy Film Festival is all about – then it is Black Pond.

Langham, in his first professional role since his recent disgrace, is fantastic in his portrayal of Tom…

The film is about a regular British family, who find themselves caught up in a press whirlwind accused of murder. The story unfolds when Tom Thompson (Chris Langham), the father, is walking his dog near the family’s suburban home when he meets and quite impetuously befriends Blake (Colin Hurley) a sad and disturbed widower. Blake becomes an unexpected and welcome relief for Tom and his wife Sophie (Amanda Hadingue) in their stagnant marriage and becomes a catalyst for the rest of the film.

Langham, in his first professional role since his recent disgrace, is fantastic in his portrayal of Tom – a regular suburban guy with a very endearing charm and wit about him. Amanda Hadingue and Colin Hurley are equally as good as his wife Sophie, a failed poet, and Blake respectively. Perhaps down to his appearance or his deadpan delivery, he strikes me as the English version of Zach Galifianakis (Alan from The Hangover) and is just as funny. Simon Amstell makes a short appearance as a clearly unqualified therapist and while his screen time is short, he makes a big impact, providing some wonderful comedic intermissions from the rest of the film.

…this film fills me with hope and in a strange way pride. British comedy, has a lot to look forward to.

What struck me most about Black Pond was how its values lay not only with comedic delivery to entertain and make the audience laugh but also with the overall beauty and cinematography of the film that is usually found in much ‘artier’ project than this, and it in no way detracts from the humour. If anything it adds a whole dimension of depth rarely seen in comedy. The unique storytelling of the film is also striking: expressed with flashbacks, dream like sequences and mockumentary style interviews which expertly and delicately deal with issues of the impossible ideals of love.

I was bowled over by this film and it fills me with hope and in a strange way pride, that British film, and in this case British comedy, has a lot to look forward to.

 

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Currently a student attending University at Queen Mary, University of London.

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