Best Comedy Film Festivals in North America

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Just for Laughs - Eat My Shorts

Eat My Shorts is the granddaddy of all the comedy film festivals, held in conjunction with the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival every July in Montreal, Canada. The festival shows both feature comedy films and short films. Most of the moviegoers have their eyes on the short film portion of the festival to catch the next wave in comedy. Since the Just For Laughs Festival is heavy on industry attendees, having your film show at Just For Laughs is a great way to get it seen by the people who matter.

Festival Dates: July

Submission Deadline: Usually April, but check website for details

Entry Fee: None


LA Comedy Shorts

Although relatively new, the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the best festivals around. Don’t think so? Just take a look at some of the celebrity judges and panelists they have for the 2010 festival: Jane Lynch (Glee, 40 Year Old Virgin), Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show With Bob and David, Breaking Bad, Tenacious D) and Thomas Lennon (Reno911!, Night at the Museum 2), to name just a few, will all be serving as celebrity judges or on panels.

The four day festival was named as one of the Top Ten Festivals in the US by the Brooks Institute and one of the “25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by Moviemaker magazine. Prizes for winning filmmakers include case and meetings with leading industry executives.

Festival Dates: April

Submission Deadline: Usually December, but check website for details

Entry Fee: Sliding scale, depending on when you enter. From $35-$75 (2011 submissions)


Giggleshorts Comedy Film Festival

Giggleshorts bills itself as the “World’s Largest International Comedy Short Film Festival”. Not sure how that might go down with the people from the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival who also bill themselves as the world’s largest, but we’ll let those two battle it out. This is another festival set in the Great White North of Toronto, Canada. Submissions to Giggleshorts have to be less than 15 minutes and can come from anywhere in the galaxy (according to their website) except from the planet Sombertosa because, according to the Giggleshorts folks, Sombertosa’s have no sense of humor.

Festival Dates: January

Submission Deadline: Usually October, but check website for details

Entry Fee: Sliding scale, depending on when you enter.


World of Comedy Film Festival

The World of Comedy Festival is a Toronto based festival (what is it with these Canadians and their love of comedy?) that thinks that comedy films are best enjoyed with an audience. The festival is set up as an independent not-for-profit organization and was founded by Carla Nolan in 2003. In addition to film screenings, the festival hosts master classes and workshops. In 2010, their special workshop guest was Paul Dooley, who was one of the founding members of Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe.

Festival Dates: March

Submission Deadline: Usually July, but check website for details

Entry Fee: None


Entry Fees

A word about entry fees: it’s a necessary evil in the film festival world, but interestingly enough, not all festivals will charge one. In addition to the comedy film festivals above, you can check out some other film festivals that don’t charge an entry fee.