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Just For Laughs ComedyPRO is making everyone’s business funny

June 26, 2019

Drum roll, please…. here are the Class of 2019 Pitch Finalists for
CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program
Beyond The Box: Playing It Short
From Set to Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD and More
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Industry Delegates – learn who’s attending this year
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Informative industry panels, special keynote speakers, live podcast recordings, concept showcases, celebrated networking events, and more will take place at this year’s ComedyPRO from July 24-27, 2019.

Montréal, June 25, 2019 – Just For Laughs ComedyPRO is back for its 12th edition this summer, running during Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival from July 24-27, 2019. Over the last decade, Just For Laughs ComedyPRO has become the go-to conference and key destination for both aspiring and established showrunners, writers, directors, comedy creators, agents and managers. This year’s pitch program, Stand Up & Pitch: The Comedy Content Search, will showcase an impressive line-up of thematically and creatively diverse new program ideas, representing a broad range of talent from Canada and the US.

“Individuals working in the comedy sphere are constantly looking for opportunities to network, make new and lasting business and creative connections, and discover up-and-coming talent,” shares Paul Ronca, Senior Director of Creative Development & Brand Partnerships at Just For Laughs. ComedyPRO has since become that engine, and we couldn’t be more excited for this year’s festival.”

PITCH SESSIONS

The following projects have been selected as finalists in ComedyPRO’s prestigious 2019 pitch program:

CBC Comedy Original Pitch Program
The CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program presents five projects from Canadian creators, in both long and short formats. The five finalists are given the opportunity to pitch their original web series or TV concepts to a panel of senior development executives and key creatives from CBC Comedy.

Panelists include: Michelle Daly (Senior Director of Comedy, CBC Scripted Content, CBC) and Wendy Litner (CBC’s How to Buy a Baby), and additional panelists to be announced. Moderated by Nicole Stamp (TV Host, Actor, Director, Writer).

The final projects are:

  • Domesticate Me, Created by Nthenya Ndunda, Produced by Nthenya Ndunda and Siobhan Baird.
  • Far Out, Written and Created by Andrea Smith Peek, Produced by Victoria Wescott
  • Kandu Attitude, Co-Created and Co-Written by Richard Young and Vas Saranga
  • Naked Nancy, Written and Directed by Marni Van Dyk, Produced by Natalie Urquhart
  • Rock Bottom TV, Written by Rick Anthony, Produced by Jason Troung.

For more information on each of the finalists and their project, click here.

Beyond the Box: Playing It Short Presented by Tubefilter
Tubefilter and Just For Laughs have joined forces to present the “Playing It Short” pitch program, where five teams with inventive short-form concepts have been selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of hard-nosed comedy experts, followed by a 15-minute open question period.

Panelists include: Alia J Daniels (Co-founder, COO, Revry, Inc.), Colin Davis (Content Lead, Quibi), Kathleen Grace (CEO, New Form), Erin Keating (Senior Development Manager of Snap Originals, Snap Inc.), Chris Kelley (Comedy Production Executive, Bell Media), Rosie Komadina (General Manager, WatchMojo Studios). Moderated by Drew Baldwin (Tubefilter, Founder and CEO).

The final projects are:

  • Be My Therapist, Co-written, Co-created and Co-starring Mary Gallagher and Brian Kiley
  • Elon Musk: Galaxy Defender, Created by John Trowbridge and David Bluvband
  • A Gay Victorian Affair, Created and written by Robert Watson, Directed by Andrew Lamb
  • Madge & Peck, Co-created, Co-written by and Starring Jana Peck and James Madge
  • Money In The Bank, Created by Gary Curtis, Produced by Becky Harris

For more information on each of the finalists and their project, click here.

From Set to Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD and More Presented by Project 10 Productions
Project 10 Productions and Just For Laughs have teamed up for the “From Set to Screen” pitch program, where five teams on the cutting edge of comedy have been selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of comedy experts from the most sought-after networks and streaming platforms, followed by a 15-minute open question period at the end of the session.

Panelists include: Roberto Alcantara (Vice President of Comedy Development & Programming, FOX Entertainment), Rob Gati (Original Programming Executive, Hulu), Punit Mattoo (Comedy Executive, Amazon Studios), Samantha Schles (Director of Talent & Development, Comedy Central), Cameron Tang (Director of Development, Adult Swim), Sarah Weaver (Director of Programming, Entertainment Specialty, Bell Media). Moderator Ben Murray (President, Project 10 Productions).

The final projects are:

  • Big Game, Written by Darrell Dennis and Katya Gardner
  • Back Doors, Created by Blair Socci
  • Groceries, Created by Ron Eigen, featuring the voices of Ben Gleib, Chaunte Wayans, Jeff Richards, Eric Schwartz and Ketra Long.
  • Scoutmasters, Created by Andrew Kimler and Co-Written by Keisha Zoller.
  • Young Money, Co-Created and Co-Written by Mookie Thompson and Nimesh Patel

For more information on each of the finalists and their project, click here.

Pitch At Your Own Risk: The American High Film Edition
ComedyPRO has teamed up with production studio, American High, to search for the next classic comedy film à la Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. This is a first-come, first-pitch event! Every name that submits a project will be eligible, and the first select few in the lineup will be invited to pitch!  This is a no-holds-barred event, and nothing (well, very little) is prohibited! Pitchers must stay focused amidst various infuriating (but safe) distractions, a flurry of questions from American High, Elon Gold, and other competitors, out to poke holes in their idea. One winning concept will be chosen at the event.

Panelists include: Ryan Bennett (Executive Producer), Jeremy Garelick (American High Founder, Writer, Director), Will Phelps (Producer), Michael Schade (Executive Producer) and MC’d by comedian, Elon Gold.

For more information on each of the pitch panel, click here.

PANELS

Among the biggest and most exciting draws of ComedyPRO are the unrivaled panels and discussions, moderated by and featuring some of today’s leading comedy industry insiders.

Click here for the list of delegates attending this year’s festival.

The 2019 lineup is bringing back previously applauded panels, as well as adding a slew of new conversation-starters, including:

A Stage In Every Country – A Guide To Touring In Canada And Abroad presented by Netflix
Canadian comedians may be exporting themselves internationally, but it’s a little known fact that the importing business is just as strong here in Canada. While local comedians are off exploring markets around the world, International comedians, now more than ever, are looking for laughs in Canada. Hear from a group of comedians as they discuss the attraction of performing in Canada and abroad.

Panelists to be announced!

Digital First Comedy: How to Find your Niche
Hear from those leading the way in the development, finance, acquisition and distribution of digital-first content as they discuss how content reigns supreme, ‘bite size viewing’ is on the rise, and how comedy is flourishing in this highly-engaged environment.

Panelists include: Deniese Davis (COO, Producer, ColorCreative), Ally Engelberg (Director of Development, Above Average), Laura Fischer (CEO, Powderkeg), Gayle Gilman (CEO, Co-Founder, Ripple Entertainment and Snarled Media).

The Big Audition: Casting For Comedy Presented by Casting Society of America
They are the unsung heroes that carefully piece together what will literally be the very faces of your next favorite, binge-worthy comedy. On this panel, we ask some of comedy’s biggest casting directors the dos and don’ts of auditioning and what goes into building film and television’s most iconic and hilarious ensembles.

Panelists: Jennifer Euston (Casting Director, Jennifer Euston Casting), Allison Jones (Casting Director), Sherie Hernandez (Casting Director, Kapital Entertainment), Jeanne McCarthy (Casting Director, McCarthy/Abellera Casting), and moderated by Amanda Lenker-Doyle (CSA, Doyle/Fiorilli Casting).

Comedy in Canada: What’s the deal?
It’s no joke that Canadians are funny, but where do they stand on the world stage? The larger spotlight tends to shine on the USA, so comedians are following it, but who is pointing the light in Canada’s direction? Hear from those at the centre of the Canadian Comedy business, in front of the curtain, and behind it.

Panelists: Michelle Daly (Senior Director of Comedy, CBC Scripted Content), Sarah Fowlie (Director of Original Programming, Bell Media), Adam Growe (Board of Directors, CASC and CANCOM), Dave Merheje (comedian), and additional panelists to be announced.

Comedy Club Bookers: The Gatekeepers of Comedy
We have assembled some of the most prominent and astute comedy club owners from across North America to discuss a variety of hot topics, controversial issues, trends and changes that affect the comedy industry today.

Panelists: Rick Bronson (President, House of Comedy & The Comic Strip), Wende Curtis (CEO, Comedy Works), Nick Kostis (Owner, Pickwick & Frolic/Hilarities), Eve Paras (Owner, Comedy On State) and moderated by Jeff Singer (Just For Laughs Talent Scout).

Who’s Laughing Now? Comedy and the Shifting TV Terrain
Hear from those at the forefront of a rapidly changing television landscape, as they discuss how viewing preferences and audience fragmentation are influencing their decisions on what shows to make, where and how they are finding the hottest new talent, and how they are reaching their target audience as the viewer is offered an increasing number of options.

Panelists: Brendan Countee (VP of Original Programming, Showtime), Suzanna Makkos (EVP of Original Programming, Comedy & Animation, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer), Jeff Meyerson (Senior VP of Comedy Development, NBC Entertainment), Justin Stockman (VP of Premium SVOD and OTT, Bell Media), Ben Wasserstein (VP of Programming, HBO).

That’s What She Said!
Now more than ever, female empowerment is impacting the comedic landscape in an unprecedented fashion, but there is still a long way to go. Hear from these trailblazing women in the comedy industry as they discuss the unfunny fight for equal respect, equal opportunity and equal pay. Gift of the United States Government.

Panelists: Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect, Fame), Jandiz Cardoso (Senior Director of Talent Development and Inclusion, NBC Universal), Cindy Chupack (Modern Family, Sex and the City, Netflix’s Otherhood), Jamila Hunter (President of TV, Khalabo Ink Society) and additional panelists to be announced.

Political Comedy On Political Change
Can political comedy create political change, and is it okay if the answer is no? Listen as a group of comedians discuss the current political climate, it’s effect on comedy (and vice versa), and the big question of “does it even matter?”

Panelists: Ronny Chieng, Erin Foley, Michael Kosta and additional panelists to be announced. Moderated by Baratunde Thurston.

Variety “10 Comics to Watch” Uncensored 2019 Presented by Cohen Gardner llp
Sit down with Variety’s 2019 “10 Comics to Watch” for an hour of pure, uncensored and honest conversation about comedy. We gather a slew of Variety’s best and brightest comics of the year together and encourage them to reflect on how they pulled it off, and where they go from here.

Panelists: [most of the 10 will be in attendance] Celeste Barber, Chris Fleming, DC Young Fly, Dusty Slay, Fahim Anwar, Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams, Patti Harrison, Piff the Magic Dragon, Robin Thede and Zainab Johnson, moderated by Malina Saval (Features Editor, Variety)

A Serious Talk With Funny People – Mental Health In Comedy
The sad clown paradox is not a new phenomenon in our industry – the issue of mental health in comedy has always been present, however discussing it on stage with an audience was not as common as it is today. In this panel, we address the complex conversation about mental health in comedy – how to talk about it, how to cope with it, and how to laugh about it.

Panelists: Byron Bowers, Solomon Georgio, and additional panelists to be announced. Moderated by Felicity Ward.

INDUSTRY ADDRESSES

Hear from various comedy experts and insiders in these thought-provoking and conversation-stimulating industry addresses.

Never Give Up: Louie Anderson Keynote Address
From the first Tonight Show to second show Fridays, to winning 3 Emmys to what you shouldn’t do, what you should do, and who you should trust! 40 years of ups, downs and arounds with Louie Anderson.

Andy Kindler’s State of the Industry Address 2019 Presented by CTV Comedy Channel
The Sultan of Schadenfreude, Andy Kindler returns this year to once again deliver the State of the Industry Address 2019. A smorgasbord of discontent. Andy says, “Hop in! The water is bitter.”

Mark Forward and Courtney Gilmour’s “Oh Comedy! A Canadian Perspective” Presented by SiriusXM
Come hear the state of the Canadian comedy industry featuring candid commentary from Mark Forward and Courtney Gilmour, as they take you on a journey of their home and native land, and answer some very important questions. Such as, if a punchline is delivered in a Canadian comedy club, but everyone has left for America, who will laugh? The answer? You will.

CAST PANELS AND PODCASTS

These newly announced panels and delegates are joining previously announced cast panels coming to ComedyPRO, including Netflix Presents  GLOW: A Cast and Creators Panel featuring Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron; Netflix Presents BIG MOUTH: Meet The Creators Panel featuring Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, CTV Comedy Channel, Project 10 Productions and Seven24 Present An Evening With JANN Panel with Jann Arden, Leah Gauthier, and Jennica Harper; HBO Presents A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW Creator and Cast Panel featuring Robin Thede, Lauren Ashley Smith, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Gabrielle Dennis; and so much more.

PLUS, more podcasts than ever before! Over 25 different podcasts.

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