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Now Playing: Ferne Pearlstein's The Last Laugh Documentary

Director: Ferne Pearlstein

Are we allowed to make jokes about the Holocaust? In this outrageously funny and thought-provoking film, The Last Laugh, filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein puts the question about comedy's ultimate taboo to legends including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, Harry Shearer, Judy Gold, Susie Essman, Larry Charles, and many other critical thinkers, as well as Holocaust survivors themselves. Through these interviews and clips from our favorite standup comedy, TV shows, and movies, The Last Laugh offers fresh insights into the Holocaust, our own psyches, and what else—9/11, AIDS, racism—is or isn’t off-limits in a society that prizes freedom of speech. Star-studded, provocative and thoroughly entertaining, The Last Laugh dares to ask uncomfortable questions about just how free speech can really be, with unexpected and hilarious results that will leave you both laughing and appreciating the importance of humor even in the face of events that make you want to cry.

Directed by NYWIFT member Ferne Pearlstein and produced by NYWIFT board member Anne Hubbell along with her partner Amy Hobby of Tangerine Entertainment, The Last Laugh has been accepted into over 70 film festivals including Tribeca, HotDocs, BFI London, Michael Moore’s Traverse City, Jerusalem, Rome, IDFA, Dallas VideoFest (winner) Aspen FilmFest, and Chicago International.

Dates: Opening March 3, 2017 (Tickets on sale starting February 27)
Filmmaker Q&As throughout Opening Week
Location: Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway, New York, NY, 10023
Run time: 89 minutes
Tickets: $15 Adult / $11 Senior

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Ferne Pearlstein Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor

Ferne Pearlstein is an American filmmaker based in New York City. A rare triple threat, she is a prize-winning cinematographer, a feature film editor, and a writer/director whose work has won numerous awards and been screened and broadcast around the world. Pearlstein holds post-graduate degrees in documentary film and photography from Stanford University and the International Center of Photography. In 2003 Pearlstein‘s feature documentary Sumo East and West—which she directed, produced, photographed, and edited—premiered at the Tribeca, Los Angeles, and Melbourne International Film Festivals, and was shown nationwide on PBS’s Independent Lens series and broadcast around the world. Its two-year festival run culminated in a special outdoor screening on Oahu's Waikiki Beach for 7000 people at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Her other director credits include Dita and the Family Business (PBS) with Josh Taylor, and three short films including her debut Raising Nicholas, which premiered at the 2003 Sundance and San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals.

An acclaimed documentary director of photography with dozens of films to her credit, Pearlstein is one of only a handful of female cinematographers featured in Kodak's long-running “On Film” ad campaign in the pages of American Cinematographer magazine. In 2004 she won the Excellence in Cinematography Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her work on Imelda, a feature documentary about Imelda Marcos for which she lived and traveled with the former First Lady of the Philippines during her campaign for the presidency. Committed to shooting in film, she has shot documentaries in places as diverse as Haiti, Uganda, and Guyana, and snuck her 16mm camera from the Karen refugee camps of Thailand across the border to film in the rebel bases of the Karen Liberation Army in Burma. Among her other credits are: cinematographer on Academy Award winner Alex Gibney’s segment of Freakonomics (Tribeca, 2010); DP on three-time Academy Award nominee Deborah Dickson’s Ruthie and Connie (HBO); and DP on The Voice of the Prophet (Sundance, 2002) where she met her longtime collaborator and husband Robert Edwards, who had hired her to shoot the film. They have been producing partners ever since.

Pearlstein went on to co-produce and edit, as well as direct and shoot 2nd unit, Edwards’ first feature Land of the Blind, starring Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. Most recently, she was a producer on Edwards’ latest feature One More Time (aka When I Live My Life Over Again) starring Christopher Walken and Amber Heard, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and came out in theaters and on VOD on April 8, 2016. Pearlstein's first scriptwriting effort, “Evie’s Garden” was a semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ prestigious Nicholl Fellowship.

Anne Hubbell, Producer

Anne Hubbell is Eastman Kodak’s East Coast Regional Account Manager for Studio and Independent Feature Film, working with over 100 projects annually. She oversees studio contracts, negotiates with productions, advises filmmakers, and does outreach at film festivals and industry events. As a freelance producer and consultant, she has worked on film and television productions, and not-for-profit media and arts events. She is currently developing and producing several narrative feature films, including two Sundance Lab projects, and is writing an animated feature. Hubbell is on the board of the New York Production Alliance and is a member of IFP and PGA.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts