Digital Comedy Lab seeks creators and comedians

21 Nov 2011

Digital Comedy Lab, an incubation programme for film projects in the comedy mockumentary genre for the YouTube generation, will train six comedy creators or comedians and the winning project will be revealed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

The lab will provide support in the following areas: training, script development, production financing and distribution.

The lab will select six new comedy creators or comedians in Ireland and provide them with the training and the tools to allow this pool of talent to produce and successfully distribute content on the new digital platforms.

The Digital Comedy Lab is produced by beActive (the digital studio behind Sofia’s Diary, Flatmates, 350 South and the Emmy-nominated Final Punishment) in partnership with Filmbase and Setanta Sports.

beActive’s recent productions include iconic series, such as the award-winning teen series Aisling Diary for RTÉ, the Emmy-nominated Brazilian thriller Final Punishment, as well as the award-winning Canadian comedy series Living in your Car for HBO Canada and UK.

Speaking today in Dublin, Nuno Bernardo, managing director of beActive, said: “Digital Comedy Lab is a scouting and development programme for new comedy talent in Ireland, through a new kind of training and production programme that has been created with the industry’s current demands, economics and the audience tendencies in mind.”

The lab is open to comedy writers, actors, comedians, producers and/or directors who believe they have an idea that could be the next Borat, The Office or This is Spinal Tap – applications open from today until the 31 January 2012 to be part of Digital Comedy Lab.

Speaking on the launch of the lab, Alan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Filmbase, said: “The training, mentoring, production and distribution advice integral to this scheme, in addition to the funding on offer, will provide invaluable support to new and emerging Irish film talent who can engage an audience across a range of platforms. We are delighted to be supporting this innovative scheme and look forward to seeing an exciting range of projects emerge from new Irish filmmakers.”

From the applications received, a judging panel will select six projects to enter the training and mentoring programme and one of these will get production funding to shoot a low-cost digital feature film during Summer 2012 to be screened to an Irish audience by early 2013. The winning project will be announced at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Details of the lab are available online.

Tony Whelan, controller of programming at Setanta Ireland, said, “There is an unrelenting appetite for innovative Irish comedy and this is a brilliant initiative to help feed that demand. Following our success with the mockumentary series Fran,partnering with beActive for the Digital Comedy Lab is a natural step. We look forward to giving the winning project it’s Irish TV premiere.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years