Bridgetown Comedy and PDX Comedy Scene Documentary / Interview with Director Adam Smith
by TeemunnyPublished on Monday, September 2, 2013
This film is a passion project from filmmakers and comedy fans Shannan Hunt and Adam Smith, Who came up with the idea to make a short film about one of the things they look forward to all year-The Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
After a few months of pre-production and securing interviews, we brought Bridgetown Comedy Festival co-founder Kimberly Brady on board as a co-producer.
We decided after getting so much great footage that this would have to become a feature length as a short just wouldn’t do what we were trying to convey justice.
We have poured our hearts and souls into this production as well as our bank accounts. Having tapped our own meager savings, we now need to stretch out our arms to receive your financial generosity! Our goal is relatively modest, and every nickel counts. Tell your friends, tell your relatives!
We have filmed over 30 interviews. Countless live performances, tons of B-roll, but we have more to do. We need to finish the interviews with the comics FROM Portland and get their story, as well as more from the behind the scenes people that make Bridgetown happen.
This is a documentary on the Bridgetown Comedy Festival‘s influence on the culture of stand-up comedy in Portland. Please support the Kickstarter campaign; there are only a couple of days left to help the filmmakers meet their goal. We reached out to Adam Smith (who just placed 2nd for his 48 Hour Film Project film) and asked him a couple questions about this project and the Portland-comedy-scene-at-large.
TONY TRINH: What inspired you to produce a documentary about the Portland comedy scene?
ADAM SMITH: The idea first came about when my producer Shannan and I were talking about how excited we were to go to the upcoming 6th Bridgetown Comedy Festival. I was nearing my final term of film school and needed a thesis project. We decided to make a documentary short on Bridgetown for my college film festival. After shooting some of the interviews, it kind of naturally snowballed into an idea to make a much longer film and include the story of how the Bridgetown Comedy Festival shaped the Portland comedy scene and helped it flourish.
The comedy in Portland is stellar. There are so many hilarious people performing all over town on any given night of the week. I really feel like the local scene is on the verge of getting serious national attention. There are amazingly talented comics here and some have made the jump to LA and are achieving success. Basically, I just wanted to make a film that would serve as a snapshot of the Portland comedy scene before it blew up and everyone knew about it.
TRINH: People say that Portland is a great incubator for upcoming comics. Why do you think there are so many good stand-ups in Portland right now? It seems like this golden age for comedy in Portlandia.
SMITH: Portland is such a supportive community. The comics here have an abundance of mics to hone their skills. On any given night there is at least one if not 3 or 4 mics they can bounce around to. Not only that, but they socialize with each other outside of mics and shows and they truly have this camaraderie that is evident in the amount of comics/vs. non comics at shows. They are constantly challenging each other and we have great places for comics to continue learning. There is Curious Comedy Theater which offers classes and improv groups and new mics are popping up all the time. Comics with enormous amounts of talent move here which ups the ante for the ones who have been here and it makes them better. We also have a lot of free comedy which really helps to bring in new people that wouldn’t otherwise go to a comedy show.
TRINH: How many Bridgetown Comedy Festivals have you attended? What are some comics that Portlanders should look out for? Stand-ups who are on the verge of breaking through, down the road, a la Ian Karmel and Ron Funches. What are some of your favorite comedians that you featured in the film?
SMITH:I have attended all but the first Bridgetown. I actually didn’t even hear about it until the last day of the festival and when I did find out it existed, I was broke or had to work or something. I have been to all of the rest and even volunteered at the 5th one.
There is no shortage of hilarious comics here. It would be really hard for you to go out to a stand up show in Portland and not laugh. So in lieu of typing all day I will just list some comics that people who aren’t from here should search for immediately. Jimmy Newstetter, Amy Miller, Christian Ricketts, Whitney Streed, and Curtis Cook. Although, that by no means represents the entirety of Portland’s comedic genius. One of the questions I asked comedians for the film was who they thought some of Portland’s brightest talent were and they all felt uneasy leaving names out. I totally get that now. I’m not trying to leave anyone out, I’m just lazy.
Other than my list above I would say that Shane Torres is due for some big things. He’s had a great year and turned some heads at Just For Laughs. I feel like Tim Hammer will be getting some wider attention soon. Barbara Holm is making a splash. Joss Whedon was tweeting about her this summer so you know she’s doing things right. Marcia Belsky just moved to New York and I think she’ll do well. Oh, and I think Jon Washington deserves more exposure.
Oh man, this is another question that I can answer for hours. Through the production of this film I have met some of my comedy heroes and talked to them about stand-up. I’m still pretty stunned when I actually sit and think about it. The comedians have all been great and it would be annoyingly long for me to talk about all of them. Todd Glass is one of my favorites and cracked me up during his interview. We interviewed Mike Burns and Mike Bridenstine together instead of separately and it was the best idea I’ve ever had. They played off each other beautifully. We interviewed Jon Glaser in Seattle. I grew up watching him on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and it pretty much made my year to meet him. I’m a long time fan of Matt Braunger and he was really funny and charming. I could keep going, but I’ll just let everyone watch the film.
A Look at Portland, Oregon’s stand-up Comedy scene and the festival that helped catapult it to the top.
The Untitled Bridgetown Comedy Festival Documentary was thought up by Producer/Assistant-Director Shannan Hunt and Co-Producer/Director Adam Smith as a way to show the world one of their absolutely favorite events of the whole year–The Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
Originally slated to be a short film, it took on a life of it’s own and has developed into a movie that not only documents the Festival itself, but pays homage to the entire Portland Stand-up comedy scene.
Shannan and Adam met Kim Brady, a co-founder of the festival during pre-production and brought her on board as an Associate Producer. Her knowledge and insight has been invaluable and the three of them have produced what is a voyeuristic view on the festival and what it is like to be a struggling comic in Bridgetown. Jam packed with interviews and stand-up material you are seriously going to laugh your ass off when you see what these comics have to say!
With Appearances from World-renowned comics like Patton Oswalt (Comedians Of Comedy), Doug Benson (Super High Me), Reggie Watts (IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang), Matt Braunger (NBC’s Up All Night), and hometown hero Ron Funches (NBC’s Undateable) just to name a few. This film has no shortage in talent.