Boston writer-director Mark Phinney made a lasting impression on the DIY film world with Fat. The film, a deeply personal, bitterly funny confessional that premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and played a packed house at the Brattle for IFFBoston, follows an emotionally bruised yet affable man whose depression manifests itself through an unhealthy relationship with food and his body.
Phinney’s follow-up—currently in the middle of its Kickstarter funding period—is It’s Not Funny Anymore. Building off of Fat’s examination of a “socially acceptable” yet ineffective means of coping with depression, Phinney’s new film tells the story of a comedian whose craft has become a less and less effective way of letting out his personal demons.
“I did comedy for a long time,” says Phinney, “and I acted for a long time, and I have written for a long time. But once I started writing from my own personal experience, that’s what I wanted to keep tapping into, and portray.”
With the success of “Louie” and the tragic passing of Robin Williams, the reality of comedy as a deeply personal—and draining—art form is in the public discourse. “A lot of stuff that I did as a comedian came from sadder, darker places, whether it was childhood stuff, or breakups, or whatever. And it can start to wear on you. That’s what the movie’s about. It’s about creative people overall that self-sabotage themselves for their art. How long can you do that? Where do you draw the line, or do you just accept it? And this is what it is, this is who I am … Some people don’t have a choice. They just do it. They can’t change.”