Two aspiring filmmakers look to make the next Moonlight in SotW alum Joe Burke’s new film Another Cancer Movie. Trying to make art that will appeal to the masses, while using what they have easy access to, this 14-minute dark comedy follows these Oscar hopefuls as they film the most important scene of their masterpiece. Blurring the lines between fiction and reality with a meta-comedy spoofing the joys and struggles of independent filmmaking, Burke’s film is full of morbid humor and oddly believable.
Burke and frequent collaborator Oliver Cooper (Californication, Red Oaks) were inspired by their personal situation when they wrote the film. ReBecca Goldstein who portrays Aunt Bonnie/Geraldine, and who also happens to be Cooper’s aunt, was actually going through chemotherapy. Thus, the pair decided to make lemonade out of the lemons they had and came up with this unconventional idea that Goldstein embraced. The project ended up being therapeutic for the whole crew, helping them find humor in what was a tough time by turning a heavy situation into something creative and fun.
Burke’s distinct comedy voice is once more showcased in Another Cancer Movie. Unlike his previous films, the director and Cooper (as the main two characters) opted for less improvisation and more reliance on a tight script. The co-writers penned a sharp and rhythmic dialogue that they both deliver perfectly to maximise the comedic and ridiculous aspects of the story. The laughs also come from how subtly the filmmakers make fun of themselves and do not take themselves seriously.
Finally, the film plays with fiction and reality in a fascinating way, telling multiple stories at once. Burke and Cooper use their characters Chad and Phil to poke fun at their own creative process, indie filmmaking and open a conversation on its ethics. When making a low budget film, being resourceful and using what you have access to is key… but to what end? Another Cancer Movie flawlessly spoofs that aspect of filmmaking with a realistic recreation of a set: a director that also has to be a makeup artist, a sound guy that you actually have to pay and of course everything not going according to plan.
Another Cancer Movie is Burke’s latest film, delighting us once more with his specific sense of humor. We impatiently await the next project he is currently developing.