About the festival
'The Cannes of Comedy film'
The International Comedy Film Festival is held annually in Torbay, on the south west coast of England. The week-long event takes place in an area affectionately dubbed the “English Riviera” and in many ways the spiritual birthplace of classic British comedy.
Peter Cook, who was crowned the world’s greatest comedian by his peers in a recent survey of 300 writers, directors and comedians, was born in Torquay. A close runner-up in the survey was one John Cleese, who will remain forever associated with the town thanks to his role as the world’s most irascible hotel owner, Basil Fawlty. The sitcom Fawlty Towers, set in Torquay of course, has also been voted the best British sitcom of all time. It’s a comic legacy that certainly deserves to be celebrated.
John Cleese said: "I think of Torquay as being the home of British comedy. The first time I saw Bruce Forsyth was in the Babbacombe Pavilion in the mid 50s; we had a very successful Monty Python shoot there in 1970; it was then that I met the famous Donald Sinclair, the model for Basil Fawlty; and I for many years followed the hilarious antics of Torquay United at Plainmoor. I wish the Festival every success and hope I can attend it before I die."
The English Riviera is indeed as much Monty Python as Monte Carlo, with a number of scenes from Monty Python’s Flying Circus filmed in Torquay and neighbouring Paignton. Scenes from Monty Python and The Holy Grail were also filmed in Occombe Woods. The Comic Strip Presents is also closely linked with the area, further cementing Devon’s comedy heritage and credentials.
The English Riviera is perfectly qualified to hold such a prestigious event, having reinvented itself as a cosmopolitan playground where café culture socialites are rewarded by world-class service and emerald bay views. It will soon gain a reputation as the home of the ‘Cannes of Comedy Film’ thanks to this exciting annual event.
The International Comedy Film Festival provides a platform for national and international comedy film makers to showcase their new work to the public, whilst also commemorating the heritage of comedy film classics. Films featured not only include blockbusters from large studios, but also the cream of student and independent productions keen to find an audience and distribution channel.
The team believe that the International Comedy Film Festival will evolve into a real player on the international film festival circuit. After all, Cannes was once just a small fishing village and Sundance is in the middle of nowhere!