Private Project

The Laughing Club

Two yogis avoid their personal problems - and the apocalypse - by practicing laughter exercises.

  • Jason Lobe
  • Liz Maestri
  • Kelsey Marsh
  • Jordan Clark Halsey
    Key Cast
  • Melanie A. Lawrence
    Key Cast
  • Mehul Gulati
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Dark comedy, Sci Fi, Apocalyptic
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jason Lobe

Jason Lobe is a filmmaker based in Washington, DC. He creates space for emotional vulnerability within dark comedy and focuses on themes such as agency, identity, and madness. He directed Démodé, a 20-minute punk narrative that premiered in 2013 and two short films, Gemini in 2016, and Landscaper in 2017 through Women in Film and Video’s Narrative Directors Roundtable. His editing credits include television series broadcast on Investigation Discovery and Smithsonian Channel as well as DC area short films including Night Waking, Tell Me About Orange, and Landfill. His feature-length screenplay, Security, was an Official Selection of the DC Spotlight on Screenwriters 2015. Jason has also played in several DC punk outfits including The Fordists, Bodycop, and Jail Solidarity. In his spare time, he enjoys vegan cooking.

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Director Statement

While co-writing a short screenplay with DC-based playwright, Liz Maestri, she invited me to view her current theatre production at Klecksography 2018. The Laughing Club play immediately struck me with its diabolical humor and malaise. Months later, we adapted a screen version: while the original features a government in collapse and federal buildings burning down, the adaptation leaves the apocalyptic situation itself unspecified, emphasizing how Mel, Jordan, and Mehul’s lives are upended. The focus is now on the characters’ defense mechanisms - denial, impulsivity and idealization - and how each of them avoid their problems while practicing laughter exercises. Furthermore, with the impending horrific event undefined, more maneuvering with the tone of the piece is possible, notching up in quick shifts from absurd to unsettling to terrifying. These choices inspired the approach to the film production. Defense mechanisms were embodied in the shot compositions. Orange and red lighting schemes accompanied each dramatic turn toward oblivion. Aesthetics from 90’s disaster movie tropes were incorporated, such as strobes, smoke machines, and dollying in on action. Ultimately, it's a timeless tale about coping with life’s challenges and the cast and crew had a wonderful time making it.