The third annual Feel Good Film Festival takes over the Egyptian this weekend, with a programme that boasts over 60 features, shorts and documentaries, all geared towards, well, making you feel good.
With an admirably uncynical and optimistic outlook, the festival was founded to encourage the development, production and distribution of films that highlight positive themes, happy endings and laughter. The programme doesn’t shy away from adult subjects, although for the most part it remains suitable for all the family. Easy enough to scoff at, less easy to pull off.
The opening night feature is life-lessons comedy Father vs Son, about Grant and his exuberant and newly-single father Jerry, who hit the dating scene together and both fall for the same mysterious woman. Presiding over the yellow carpet ceremonies (yes, yellow) will be Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines, and Hal Sparks from Queer As Folk will be hosting the closing event on Sunday, at which this year’s Feel Good honoree will be musical star Shirley Jones, of The Music Man, Oklahoma! and Carousel.
In between, the programme boasts 11 features, 3 feature-length documentaries, 39 shorts, 11 student films and an intriguing-sounding panel discussion entitled “Why Web Series Suck”. Festival co-director (and co-founder) America Young explains: “While there has been a lot of discussion and forums about web shows, they seem to be done mainly by those who already appreciate and/or create them. There are a lot of critical views of web series. We wanted, with respect and fun, to open up the floor to differing opinions with the hope of broadening the influence and popularity of quality web shows even further. This panel should be a creative way to call attention to that while debuting and shining a light on some of the best work being done on the web.”
Star-spotters can also keep an eye out for Sally Field and Cliff Robertson in support of Accidental Icon: the Real Gidget Story, and Iggy Pop and Greta Gerwig who star in college comedy Art House. And if we’re really lucky, John Saxon will turn out for God’s Ears, a drama about an autistic boxer and a nomadic stripper. That film actually dates back to 2007, but it’s picked up some acting awards in the meantime. Other titles are a little fresher, including the Saturday night premiere of Eagles in the Chicken Coop, a comedy about a pair of documentarians investigating the making of late-night softcore television fare; and the closing gala sneak preview of Lifted, a musical drama about a boy in the south who sings to support his family, presumably rather a change of pace for Lexi Alexander after her previous Punisher: War Zone. And it’s not all American: another slightly dated title is Ai mi me gusta (As You Like It), from 2008, which follows a young Venezuelan woman pursuing her dream of becoming a chef in London; and the Japanese Wakiyaku monogatori (Cast Me If You Can) about a Japanese supporting actor overshadowed by his famous playwright father.
True to their mission statement of supporting this kind of uplifting and affirmative cinema, the festival has a bountiful roster of monetary prizes, from best feature to best score, to be announced and presented on the closing night. A short, sweet weekend of films to cleanse one’s palate of the soullessness and cynicism so rampant in commercial cinema, which in the face of such positive feeling, only a curmudgeon would begrudge.
The Feel Good Film Festival runs from Friday 13th to Sun day 15th at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Learn more at the official website: www.fgff.org