Coming out of the closet

Imagine an ultra-violent race war where a group of Catholics and Jews battle it out Clockwork Orange style. Sound a little disturbing?

The scene is actually from the opening skit of a night of unique comedy being put on next Tuesday by local production company/sketch comedy ensemble Kidnapper Films.

It’s an exciting time for the three year-old group. Recently, their films have been officially selected at prestigious competitions including the New York Independent Film and Video Festival, and the Next Frame Film Festival, which tours Latin America.

Against tough odds, they beat over 200 wannabe filmmakers by winning the pitch contest at the Austin Film Festival, attracting attention by the likes of Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

To top this off, the distinctive entertainers, (6 out of 7 of who are undergrads or graduates from Concordia’s communication studies program) are giving their first live performance in three years at The Kidnapper Films Variety Hour next Tuesday at La Sala Rosa.

Inspired by the smart irreverent sketch comedy of HBO’s Mr. Show, the event will contain a mix of interconnected short films and live skits. The evening will also have musical intermissions SNL-style by pop-punk female rockers Pony Up!

While the seven-man crew that make up Kidnapper Films met while working on a play at Dawson College, some of them had been working together since their pre-teens. Communications Graduate Bobby Shore along with fellow Kidnapper partners Jared and Daren Cutis made their first movie at the age of 11.

It was an apocalyptic sci-fi film called The Butchering of the Earth, in which an alien came to earth to destroy mankind. Shore recalls, “There was a five-minute dressing up sequence to the theme of Total Recall (laughs).”

In a sign of things to come their second movie, shot weeks later, was a satire of the first.

Explaining their style of filmmaking, Shore said, “Everything we do consciously or not is ridiculously based in irony or sarcasm.”

While their award winning comedies have touched on everything from break-dancing to the bizarre romance of a man and a hair salon chair, Shore maintains certain unifying themes can be seen in all of Kidnapper Films’ work and will be evident in Tuesday’s show. “A lot of it has to do with masculinity, male identity, the emasculation of men… For a variety show there are a lot of homo-erotic undertones. I’ve taken a lot of queer cinema classes, we’ve always had those themes, but the theory has helped me understand them.”

But this is comedy after all. While praising the theory he learned in queer cinema, Shore notes that his group is quick to mock the often convoluted language of Communication theory: “Being in comms., we fell in love with the seriousness that communication theory applies to itself. As important as the theory is, taking the piss out of it is even more important because a lot of it is based on fluff anyway […] In the end though, it’s all entertainment, making people laugh, and hopefully people will buy into it.”

The filmmakers hope producers will buy into it as well. The variety show is being made into a DVD to serve as a pilot for a potential TV show.

Who knows? You may be able to say that you were at their pilot episode, which began with a crazy battle between their Jewish and Catholic members, before they were famous.

Kidnapper Films Variety Show takes place Tuesday Nov. 4 at La Sala Rosa 4848 St. Laurent Blvd. Doors open at 8 p.m. $10 General $8 Students. Includes musical guest Pony Up! and an appearance by celebrity guest Jessica Par


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