Jacksonville, FL — It all started with a question while sitting in the back row of the Sun-Ray Cinema in Five Points, July 2016. “Think we can create a comedy film festival?” Monique Madrid asked her husband, filmmaker Adam Madrid. He did not answer her right away but instead pondered the question overnight before responding: he was onboard for the new adventure. From there, LOL (Laugh Out Loud/Love Our Locals) JAX Film Festival was born. The co-creators quickly recruited local stand-up comedian Jenn Weeks to host the event. Local filmmakers submitted their short films before the June 30, 2017 deadline and then a committee made the final selection for screening at the festival.
Multiple local sponsors joined the project to support the vision, including Kessler Creative, Buzz Media Group, Duane A. Sikes Productions, Performing Arts Link Up, Reel Insight Productions, and Tosha Holland Photography. The first year was a success with a sold-out venue at the local theatre where the vision began. An after-party immediately followed at Root Down bar next door on August 6, 2017. The audience voted and the winning film Real Reality — Life Inside the Discomfort Zone by Upside Down Creative Media was awarded the Audience Choice trophy and a $100 cash prize. Even audience members won prizes from local entrepreneurs including Pratt Guys, Dami Expressions, Total Recall Events, Jason C. Hart from Watson Realty and many others.
The vision for LOL JAX was simple: Create a platform to showcase short films and talent by local community filmmakers, actors/actresses, and comedian. The genre comedy was chosen as a way to promote positivity to the community. “Love Our Locals” by “Laughing Out Loud” is the motto for the festival.
Approaching year two, the Madrids decided the festival needed to grow. They expanded this year’s festival to two days, August 4 and 5, 2018. A 12 noon screening each day will be presented at Sun-Ray Cinema, 1028 Park Street, Jacksonville, Florida. Local comedians Christina Schriver and Forest Scott join Jenn Weeks for a short standup comedy routine before each film lineup. After the Saturday screening, a Filmmaker Mixer will be presented by Jax Film Bar at Root Down. A local band will perform, there will be a Q&A with filmmakers and awards nominations will be announced. On Sunday, at the same venue, comedian Kelley Moore will host an awards ceremony for winning films. Prizes for audience members will be awarded each day. The 2018 LOL Film Festival judging panel will feature Laura Blair (creator of Jax Film Bar Mondays), Mac McDonald (former producer of the 48 Hour Film Project, Jacksonville), and Marshall Malone (director of the 2017 LOL Film Festival winning film).
Tickets are now on sale for screenings on each day at 12 noon and are available at Sun-Ray Cinema at the ticket booth or online at www.sunraycinema.com.