Short comedy The Immigrant nets world premiere in L.A.

Toronto-based director Josh Levy talks to Playback about life on the festival circuit.
Scott Thompson plays Bob London in The Immigrant

That’s one way to get to Hollywood: get Canadians who have already made it there to appear in your film.

With the help of stars such as Michael Cera and Dave Foley, The Immigrant, a short comedy by the Toronto-based Levy Brothers and The Kids in the Hall alumnus Scott Thompson’s Hoblygall Media, is set to make its world premiere at the LA Comedy Shorts Festival April 26.

The 20-minute short tells the story of once-famous comedian Bob London who, after being deported back to Canada, attempts a Hollywood comeback by enlisting human smugglers to sneak him across the Mexico-U.S. border.

“I was attracted to the script because it’s about two of the hottest topics of the day: immigration and unemployment,” Josh Levy tells Playback Daily.

“I thought it looked at them from a unique perspective by telling the story of a Canadian comedian,” he adds.

The film marks the third partnership between the brothers and Thompson (shown), who teamed up for 52 and 4 pounds last year. Both films screened at LA Comedy and have played at about 70 film festivals around the world.

Wanting to follow up their success, the brothers (director Josh and producer Robi) and Thompson began working on Thompson’s idea for The Immigrant.

Together, they developed the script and shot the film with a three-man crew.

But while the brothers and Thompson have found success in penetrating the festival circuit, Levy says it’s not always easy.

“The festival circuit can be a tough one, because you’re at the mercy of the draw each time,” he says.

“A lot of the festivals get thousands and thousands of applications, so it’s tough to strike a way through that.”

Money is another concern, adds Levy, noting that it sometimes costs more to apply to have a film featured at a festival than it does to produce it.

So how do you get your film screened?

Levy recommends building relationships with the people who run the festival and by being selective about which festivals you apply to.

“It’s not just a question of submitting to every single festival under the sun. The best thing to do is to look at your own film, then decide what the best home for that film might be,” he explains.

He also suggests working closely with the festival once your film is accepted, to maximize your experience and the film’s exposure.

The Levy brothers and Thompson say their goal with The Immigrant is to get it seen by as many niche audiences as possible and have it act as a calling card for their other projects.

The brothers are currently working on season two of their web series Masculathon, which premieres May 2.

Levy says that the series has soared to 1.6 million views on YouTube and the brothers are now trying to pitch it as a TV series.

They’re also working on two feature films, the comedy Camp Asshole and the action-western Massacre at Motherlode, which they hope to produce next year.

Thompson will also receive a Commie Award for his outstanding contributions to comedy during the festival.