A SURREAL comedy featuring a man dressed as a horse is just one of the wacky highlights of this year’s Over the Fence Comedy Festival.
Featuring 13 hand-picked comedy shorts from Australia and around the globe, the festival specialises in dark, strange laughs with a good dose of irony.
This year’s festival has the most WA films to date including Linger, which deals with the fall-out from 20-something Ariel having a one-night stand with her roommate’s ex-girlfriend.
The next morning Ariel must find a way to get the girl out the house before the parents arrive.
Made specifically for the LGTBQ+ community, it stars Filipino-Australian actor Chaya Ocampo as Ariel and WAAPA graduate Abbey Morgan as Cat.
The film was shot in Perth and directed by Aaryn Bath, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who wants to create movies that people can “see themselves in”, so they feel truly represented.
If you like your humour on the surreal side, you’ll enjoy Horse in the House – Mitch and Alex have been best buddies for nearly 18 years, but when Mitch decides to buy a horse, it threatens to change their relationship forever.
“Horse in the House was definitely a WA highlight, as it combined a wacky and absurd premise with a very real and relatable sense of anxiety that was strangely heart-warming,” says Greta Schipp, festival co-coordinator.
Schipp’s favourite selection was the Canadian movie Point D’Orgue, directed by Benoit Ouellet it shows a man delving into his childhood memories in a secluded cabin, surrounded by untrodden snow.
Totally absorbed in the past, will he ignore imminent danger and pay the price?
“It combines a really beautiful and heartfelt message within a comedic package with a seamlessness that makes it an instant classic,” Ms Schipp says.
There are also some famous actors on-screen including Peter Mullan (Ozark, Trainspotting) who stars in the movie Don vs Lightning.
Mullan portrays a man looking for a quiet peaceful life in the Scottish Highlands; but nature has other ideas.
The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Find your pack in Wild Times’ with some films tackling this literally with animals and others via “animalistic behaviour and oddities in human behaviour”.
“The past couple of years have been filled with social upheaval worldwide and in these chaotic times it can be often difficult to find a sense of belonging and security,” Ms Schipp says.
“Looking through the films that we selected this year I think we found this thing to be quite evident in the works of the filmmakers and we especially noticed this connection with animals.
“From accidentally entering the wrong house to mistaking a delivery man as your mail order boyfriend to connecting with house robbers over the death of your father, these films explore how our sense of belonging can be found in the most unusual places in a world that seems to be increasingly disconnected and chaotic.”
The 26th Over the Fence Comedy Festival is at the Backlot cinema in West Perth from Thursday June 9 – Sunday June 12. For more info and tix see overthefence.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK