Very Semi-Serious

Documentary film “Very Semi-Serious” is an inside look at The New Yorker’s iconic cartoons.

Described as “quick-witted treat” by the Hollywood Reporter, Very Semi-Serious takes a behind the scenes look at one of America’s most established publications, The New Yorker, which is known for iconic and often controversial cartoons. Directed by Leah Wolchok, the documentary film looks at the cartoons that “make the strange familiar, or the familiar strange,” and the cartoonists who make it happen.

The New Yorker was first established as a weekly publication in 1925. Now, it is read nationwide and published 47 times annually. According to its history, its creators Harold Ross and Jane Ross launched the publication as a way to move away from “corny” humour to a more sophisticated kind of funny.

They succeeded in many aspects of the newspaper, which now includes fiction, journalism, and cartoons that poke fun at the sections of society who “take themselves too seriously”, says Wolchok.

At the centre of the New Yorker of this era is cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. In the film, viewers follow the mechanics of Mankoff’s cartoon creation process, starting with the actual artists to the high-level pitches with editor David Remnick. Through this offbeat journey, we see the process that created over 60 000 popular cartoons. 

*This film will be screened at the Design Indaba FilmFest 2016 in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Potchefstroom and Port Elizabeth as part of the Design Indaba Festival. The FilmFest will take place at the various locations across the country. Watch out for our programme for more information and tickets

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