(2016) (United States)
Screening Block I, Sat 4/22
Free to Laugh covers a comedy workshop teaching improv and stand up to women recently released from prison, culminating in a show for friends and family. We collaborated with the Amity Foundation, a non-profit in downtown Los Angeles, which houses women on parole and probation to help prevent recidivism. These women channeled years of pain, guilt and incarceration into writing their own stand up material, healing through laughter and propelling themselves into the present moment through improvisation. Humor is truly a way to cope and to bring our inner shadows into the light. Free to Laugh focuses on the deep connection between tragedy and comedy, and how humor not only heals but is a part of redemption and reinvention. These women’s stories are as bone-chilling as they are heart-warming, and explore how even after spending twenty years behind bars, your story is still being created every day.
Directed by Lara Everly
Lara is a director, actress and writer championing women in comedy – both in front and behind the camera. Her directorial debut, “Me, You, A Bag & Bamboo”, was awarded Best Family Film at the Canada International Film Festival and won the Viewer’s Choice award at the Ovation Short Film Contest, which led to a televised screening of the film. Lara’s short films have played the film festival circuit, won awards and procured distribution through Shorts HD, Snag Films and Oprah.com. She loves directing comedy, partnering with companies like FunnyorDie, Comediva, Hello Giggles and College Humor. Web Series work includes “Love Handles” for FunnyorDie and a music-video web series called “The Queue” for PopularTV. She most recently directed a musical comedy pilot called “Patriettes” about a mock government summer camp for teenage girls. Lara earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater from Wesleyan University (CT) and is a graduate of Upright Citizen’s Brigade.