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, Jeff Ross, 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. In the process, The Last Laugh also disproves the idea that there is nothing left to say about the Holocaust, and opens a fresh avenue for approaching this epochal tragedy. 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.
FEATURING Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Robert Clary, Rob Reiner, Susie Essman, Harry Shearer, Jeffrey Ross,
Alan Zweibel, Gilbert Gottfried, Judy Gold, Larry Charles, David Steinberg, Abraham Foxman, Lisa Lampanelli, David Cross,
Roz Weinman, Klara Firestone, Elly Gross, Deb Filler, Etgar Keret, Shalom Ausländer, Jake Ehrenreich, Hanala Sagal
and Renee Firestone
CREATED BY the award-winning team of Ferne Pearlstein (“Sumo East and West” and "Imelda"), Amy Hobby (Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee for "What Happened, Miss Simone?"), Anne Hubbell ("Keep the Change"), Robert Edwards ("One More Time"), and Jan Warner (“Poetry of Resilience”).
THE LAST LAUGH had its World Premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and its International Premiere at HotDocs 2016 and has gone on to play at over 50 film festivals worldwide including Tribeca Film Festival, HotDocs, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, IDFA, BFI London Film Festival, Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Aspen FilmFest and Chicago International Film Festival.
THE LAST LAUGH will have it's theatrical release on March 3rd at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in NYC and will expand across the U.S.
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.
ROBERT EDWARDS, PRODUCER, WRITER
Robert Edwards is a writer/director based in New York. His most recent film is ONE MORE TIME (aka WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN), starring Christopher Walken and Amber Heard, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015. A graduate of Stanford University’s Master’s Program in Documentary Film, Edwards won a 2001 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his first script, LAND OF THE BLIND, which in 2006 became his directorial debut, starring Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland. As a screenwriter, he has written scripts for directors including Bennett Miller, Mark Romanek, and Mike Newell, and for producers such as Plan B, John Davis, and HBO. He is currently at work on a 7-part miniseries about the Flying Tigers for executive producer John Woo and collaborating on a new script with director Ray Tintori. For his own next film, Edwards is developing THE BOMB IN MY GARDEN—based on his adaptation of the memoir of the chief scientist in Saddam Hussein’s uranium enrichment program—with Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil.
AMY HOBBY, PRODUCER (Tangerine Entertainment)
Amy Hobby is an Academy-Award nominated producer of both scripted and documentary films. In a career spanning more than 20 years she has had 13 films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival including NADJA (produced with David Lynch), SUNDAY (Sundance Grand Jury Prize), HAMLET starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Shepard and Bill Murray, and SECRETARY (another Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner) starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was nominated for an Emmy for her role. Hobby’s documentary films include AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE (IFC) directed by Steven Soderbergh, SHEPARD & DARK (official selection Cannes Film Festival) and LOVE, MARILYN (HBO) directed by Liz Garbus, with whom she collaborated again on her most recent film WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? (Netflix), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, a Grammy, and a Peabody Award and won the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary. In 2013 Hobby co-founded Tangerine Entertainment which produces and builds community for films directed by women. In her various capacities Hobby speaks on panels and runs workshops around the world including the Women’s Economic Forum (Goa, India 2015), Screen Australia Workshops for Narrative Films (Brisbane, Australia), Cannes American Pavilion, creating IFP’s “How to Take a Meeting” workshop, Stowe Story Labs Mentor, and Impact Partners Documentary Producing Mentor. She has also been on numerous film festival juries and panels over the past 10 years. Hobby is the current Executive Director of TriBeCa Film Institute.
ANNE HUBBELL, PRODUCER (Tangerine Entertainment)
Anne Hubbell is the co-founder of Tangerine Entertainment, a groundbreaking production company and community builder focusing exclusively on films by women directors. She is also Vice President of Motion Picture & Consumer Films at Eastman Kodak where she works with studio and independent movies of all budgets, episodic content and commercials, and is a liaison to the international film community at large. She is a 20-year industry veteran and currently serves on the boards of New York Women in Film & Television, the New York Production Alliance and Rooftop Films, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America. As a freelance producer and consultant, she has worked on numerous film and TV productions and not-for-profit media and arts events. Her credits include award-winning features GAYBY (2012) and LIPSTICK & DYNAMITE (2005) and two seasons of IFC’s “Independent Focus” and “iFilm@IFC” (2001-03). Via Tangerine, Hubbell produced Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, PAINT IT BLACK, which had its world premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival and will be screening on the international festival circuit starting summer 2016.
JAN WARNER, PRODUCER
Jan Warner is a multi-talented producer who's involved with multiple projects in many different media. In addition to THE LAST LAUGH, which she nurtured from its early days, she also produced the award-winning films POETRY OF RESILIENCE and SEASON OF MADNESS, both by Academy-Award nominated filmmaker, Katja Esson. She was involved in producing two plays including "The Two Character Play." Currently she is producing a play in Ireland by the emerging playwright Isobel Mahon. This play will then be brought to New York City. Jan has a Facebook page Grief Speaks Out at which has over 1,200,000 likes from all over the world. She also has a blog at www.griefspeaksout.net. Her favorite role is that of mom to her daughter Erin and Gammy to her granddaughter Gwendolyn.