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When thinking about comedy films, people tend to immediately make associations with light-hearted mainstream films made in the US, which the audience laughs about and then quickly forgets. However, this is not necessarily the case for most comedies. In fact, the very first silent movies were comedies, making comedy the oldest film genre. Ever since, comedy has been used throughout films of all varieties as a device to address taboo issues in society like death and illness, political and social inequalities, sexual liberalisation or breaking of traditions - or just to touch people’s emotions and to bring smiles and laughter. Various film hybrids merge comedy and other film styles and genres (action, drama, war-films) together, allowing spectators to stumble across comic elements where they would least expect them.
Clearly the significance of comedy films has been overlooked. Every individual has their own taste of humour and more importantly, humour is culture specific. For instance, in order to understand a comedy from Nigeria, Japan or Argentina, the spectator has to first understand the ethnic and/or cultural roots of that certain humour. This is exactly the ICoFF’s mission: To bring the audience closer to a foreign culture and its people, to laugh with them, and to understand them. Particularly in Germany, comedy is often associated with stand-up or run-of-the-mill reality TV shows like “Farmer Wants Wife” or “Wife Swap” – yet there is a lack of considered and cosmopolitan humour. The ICoFF however will primarily show independent comedy films which were made with a lot of passion and intelligence – far beyond the ordinary and obvious humour one finds on TV.