After enduring six months of death threats, spurious legal claims, and an ever increasing frustration among an audience fascinated to see what the fuss is all about, âNo Jokeâ (a documentary about âunfunnyâ comedians) is finally having its much belated World Premiere.
Online PR News – 03-January-2013 – Vancouver – For immediate release
By Shawn Bordoff
January 2, 2013
Vancouver, BC - After enduring six months of death threats, spurious legal claims, and an ever increasing frustration among an audience fascinated to see what the fuss is all about, âNo Jokeâ (a documentary about âunfunnyâ comedians) is finally having its much belated World Premiere on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Collingwood Cinema in Vancouver.
In following up his award winning 2004 film âBaghdad or Bust,â Director Matt Frame opted for a (seemingly) more âbenignâ subject: stand-up comedians who believed they were funny in the face of audiences who could not disagree more. âWe shot âBaghdadâ during the invasion of Iraq when journalists were being kidnapped and beheaded left and right, â recalls Frame, âbut after dealing with comedians I think an encounter with a beheading jihadist would have been a tad less stressful.â
The trouble began in July upon the films completion. Of the four featured performers in âNo Jokeâ, one took aggressive exception to what he perceived was an inaccurate portrayal. âIt started with death threats against meâ Frame remembers, âit then progressed to physical assault when he attacked a fellow comedian.â Then, several days later, Frame was issued with a cease and desist letter from an attorney representing the disgruntled comedian. âThat was surreal,â Frame recalls, âless than a week prior he had threatened to have the mafia hunt me down and execute me but suddenly he was playing hapless victim and accusing me of slander. It was a definite âWTF?â moment.â
Over the next 5 months the aggrieved comedian conducted a campaign to derail the film, going so far as to repeatedly contact the Vancouver International Film Festival to insist they drop the film due to its defamatory nature. On August 13th, they did just that. âThey hung us out to dry and then lied about it,â Frame says, âNot once did they contact us to give us an opportunity to defend ourselves.â
It was in the last week of November that the filmmakers took matters into their own hands. âWe were engaged in a legal chess match that was going nowhereâ says Producer Shawn Bordoff, â it was obvious that they had no intention of negotiating in good faith.â Adding fuel to that accusation was the revelation that the accusers lawyer was working free of charge. âSimple facts like the accuser had signed a legal release form (invalidating any libel claims) or him being unable to even articulate what footage was âdefamatoryâ didnât seem to carry any weightâ says Frame, âwhen your lawyer is your best friend then you possess unlimited resources to bog your opponent down in litigation. Truth is irrelevant, and in this case, it was simply an irritant.â
Fearing an endless cycle of legal threats against film festivals, Frame and Bordoff pressed ahead with plans for a self-release premiere of the film. âWe had a lengthy conversation with the owners of the Collingwood Cinema in which they were presented with all the legal evidenceâ explains Bordoff, âand they naturally came to the same conclusion that any rational and honorable film festival would have: the defamation claims are baseless. The film deserves to be shown.â
Perhaps sensing a growing distaste for his tactics by the growing âNo Jokeâ online fan base, the aggrieved cast member has thus far not made any attempts to squelch the premiere. Still, it hasnât all been peace and goodwill this holiday season. âJust last week I spent an hour with the VPD after we received another death threatâ says Frame, âhowever, this time it was against all of us so I felt a little less lonely. I was like âHey guys, guess what? Weâre all marked for death now soâŚumâŚSeasons Greetings!â
âNo Jokeâ World Premiere:
7pm, Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Collingwood Cinema at 3215 Kingsway, East Vancouver.
(Followed by reception and Michael Jackson Karaoke on the big screen @ 10pm)
âNo Jokeâ Official Trailer: http://youtu.be/gWXDPyMWP-s
âNo Jokeâ Mini Documentary describing personal and legal threats against the film and director Matt Frame: http://youtu.be/sSil8MqJuAI
âNo Jokeâ Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/nojokefilm
Advance Ticket Sales: http://www.nojokemovie.com
***Online screener (for review) available upon request***