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“Obits” Directed by Neil Fennell

Austin Comedy Short Film Festival 

Fall 2017 Official Selection

Obits, Directed by Neil Fennell

The comedy short film directed by Neil Fennell, Obits, is an official selection of the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017.

  • Director: Neil Fennell 
  • Writer: Guy Olivieri 
  • Runtime: 7 minutes 27 seconds
  • Category: Comedy Short Film
  • Cast: Kate Middleton, Timothy John Smith, Ryan Duncan, Charleigh E. Parker, John-Andrew Morrison, Guy Olivieri and Patti Goettlicher. 
  • Tagline: "​Writing obituaries is the least prestigious job at the paper, and Kelly is stuck there. When her boss challenges her to go deeper - to learn more about her subjects - she comes up with a plan to change everything."
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  • Review: "An excellent dark comedy film from director Guy Olivieri. A well thought-out film that must have come from the dark corner of someone's mind, Obits, is about a woman that goes through extreme measures to climb the corporate ladder."

Neil Fennell: Director's Biography

Neil Fennell (Director / Editor / Executive Producer) comes from a musical theatre background, where he honed his skills in performance and direction before tackling the world of film. A current resident of Astoria, NY, Neil has directed and edited multiple award-winning short films, pilots, and web series. 
  
A self-taught filmmaker, Neil is the resident video editor for Jack Morton Worldwide NY (experiential marketing) and has created hundreds of video pieces of corporate and creative content over the past 6 years. Neil’s work can be found at: www.neil-fennell.com

Obits: The Story Behind the Story

We caught up with the, Obits film crew, for a behind-the-scenes look at the production of this comedy film.

  1. Why did you think that your film was a good fit for the Austin Comedy Short FF?
    When times seem grim, DARK comedy is often the exact thing you need. And Obits delivers exactly that
  2. What inspired you and your team to make this film and how did you come up with the title?
    We had an office space, and a bunch of great actors. Late at night, with very little sleep, the idea popped into out heads, and made us laugh. Obits is about an obituary writer, and the title sounds kind of silly even though the subject matter is far from.
  3. What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? We have been part of the artistic community (really the Off-Off Broadway theatre scene) in New York for years. There are hundreds of great actors; we just had to create a good vehicle for them.
  4. How were you able to get the locations for your film? We pulled in a few favors. And - keep this between us - we did some gorilla filming in the subway, because you're absolutely not supposed to do that without a permit.
  5. Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film?
    We asked a company I work for, SmartSign, for a little bit of money - and they were very generous. And the rest came from small donations from friends, family and collaborators.
  6. Has creating this short film helped the careers of the people involved in any way? "Not yet. Depends on who we meet in Austin!"
  7. What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making this film?
    We had this DARK script, and the tone was tricky. Our director worked do beautifully with actors, and the DP to create the exact mood that makes all the comedy notes sing. It was challenging, and scary, but we think it turned out well.
  8. In what city and state was this film shot on location? If outside the US, what city and country? If multiple places, please list them. All in New York. An office, two restaurants, and the subway.
  9. Can you tell us about a time when something really funny happened on set, that didn't get caught on camera. "Our DP fell asleep waiting to see the first edit on top of a giant teddy bear. We have great pictures of this full-grown adult, sleeping like a baby, but he didn't want to leave until he saw the first edit. He was too excited."
  10. Can you list any awards, nominations or official selections for this film? We won a bunch of awards at the 48 Hour Film Festival in New York (Best Film, Best Director, Best Writing, Best Editing, Best Actress - Kate Middleton, Best Supporting Actor - Ryan Duncan). We are about to be screened at The New York Short Film Festival, and we were semi-finalists for The Aukland IFF, The Miami IFF, and IndieCork.

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