Second annual event unspools Oct. 21
Fox Searchlight’s Irish comedy “Waking Ned Devine” will open the second annual New York Comedy Film Festival, which runs Oct. 21-25.Writer-director Kirk Jones’ tale of a cozy village that is transformed by a winning lottery ticket will screen at the Loews Cineplex Village Theater. The remainder of the NYCFF will unspool at the Directors Guild of America Theater on West 57th Street. The NYCFF will host the New York premiere of “The Castle,” the Australian comedy that Miramax Films paid $6 million for at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Rob Stitch’s pic tells the story of a working-class man who battles to keep his home from being razed to make room for an airport expansion. The NYCFF’s Children’s Morning at the Movies will feature the East Coast premiere of Disney’s “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride,” which will be subsequently released on homevideo. The festival’s closing night film will be ex-”Saturday Night Live” cast member Julia Sweeney’s performance piece “God Said, Ha!” The Miramax release chronicles Sweeney’s reaction to her brother’s terminal cancer and her own cervical cancer diagnosis. Sweeney will join Joy Behar for the NYCFF’s celebration of women in comedy that will showcase Gail Singer’s 1991 documentary “Wisecracks.” Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopi Goldberg are among the female comics captured on and off stage in the doc. Other special events at the NYCFF include “A Discussion with the Farrelly Brothers,” the creators of “There’s Something About Mary,” that will be hosted by Michael Corrente; and “Fresh Voices in Film,” hosted by comedian Jeffrey Ross and featuring Wanda Sykes-Hall (“The Chris Rock Show”) and Elon Gold. Other films unspooling at the fest include writer-director Ken Liotti’s “The Waiting Game,” about a group of actors working at a restaurant; writer-director Frank Todaro’s “Above Freezing,” the story of a flower salesman whose girlfriend is pressuring him to become a father; and Jamie Yerkes’ feature debut “Spin the Bottle,” a humorous meditation on sexual deception. The NYCFF was programmed by selection committee members Kim Hendrickson, Marc Isaacman, Curtis Tsui and Brian Steinberg. The festival’s marquee sponsors are American Airlines, Comedy Central, Dart Messenger Service, Grand Marnier, HBO, Kodak, Loews Cineplex, Moviefone, the New York Times, Spin magazine and Time Warner Cable. For NYCFF tickets, call (212) 279-4200 or visit Ticket Central at 416 W. 42nd Street. The festival box office will open Oct. 22 at 12 p.m. at the DGA Theater at 110 W. 57th Street. Tickets range from $10 for regular screenings to $100 for opening night.