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FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 83 Minutes World Premiere
The New Yorker is the undisputed standard bearer of the single panel cartoon. Whether they leave us amused, inspired, or even a little baffled, the iconic cartoons have become an instantly recognizable cultural touchstone over the past 90 years.

With Very Semi-Serious, viewers get an unprecedented glimpse into the process behind the cartoons. Legends Roz Chast and Mort Gerberg submit their work alongside hopefuls like graphic novelist Liana Finck. While on the other side of the desk, Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff sifts through hundreds of submissions every week to bring readers a carefully curated selection of insightful and humorous work, striving to nurture new talent and represent the magazine’s old guard, while also considering how his industry must evolve to stay relevant. Leah Wolchok's light-hearted and sometimes poignant debut film offers a window into The New Yorker’s signature brand of subtle, contemplative humor, and perhaps also onto what it means to laugh at ourselves.

—Cara Cusumano

Sunday 4/19 After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with director Leah Wolchok, New Yorker cartoonists Mort Gerberg, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, Zach Kanin, Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker Bob Mankoff, and more.

Liana Finck
Liana Finck was born in 1986 and studied fine art at Cooper Union College. Her first graphic novel, published by Ecco Press in 2014, is called A Bintel Brief.

Emily Flake
. Emily Flake is a cartoonist, illustrator and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Besides her duties for the New Yorker, she is the creator of a crass little strip called Lulu Eightball, and the author of the upcoming book Mama Tried, cartoons and essays about parenthood. She makes her home with her husband, their daughter, and a small orange cat.

Mort Gerberg
Mort Gerberg is a longtime cartoonist and author best known for his magazine cartoons in The New Yorker, Playboy and numerous other publications. He was voted as Best Magazine Cartoonist of 2007 and 2008 by the National Cartoonists Society, the international organization for professional cartoonists, and was a founding member and president of The Cartoonists Guild. --- Gerberg has drawn several nationally-syndicated newspaper comic strips and has written, edited and/or illustrated 43 books for adults and children, including Cartooning: The Art and the Business, which has been the most respected instructional/reference work in the field for 30 years.

Bob Mankoff
Bob Mankoff is cartoon editor of The New Yorker and founder of The Cartoon Bank. He started submitting cartoons to the New Yorker in 1977 and has since had over 900 cartoons published in the magazine. He was named cartoon editor in 1997. --- Mankoff has edited dozens of cartoon books and published four of his own. His most recent book is the memoir How About Never–Is Never Good For You?: My Life in Cartoons published by Henry Holt & Co in March 2014.

Leah Wolchok
Director/Producer Leah Wolchok is a Paris-based filmmaker who recently completed a San Francisco Film Society Film House Residency, a BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship, and the IFP Documentary Labs. She co-produced the Independent Lens documentary ASK NOT and directed four award-winning short films. She received a BA in English from Yale and an MA in Documentary Production from Stanford. And despite all that name-dropping, she really does like to laugh.

Female Director(s), Comedy, Documentary, New York
About the Director(s)
Director/producer Leah Wolchok recently completed a San Francisco Film Society Film House Residency, a BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship, and the IFP Documentary Labs. She co-produced the Independent Lens documentary Ask Not and has directed four award-winning short films.
Special Note

Supported by:

Film Info
  • Section:
    World Documentary Competition
  • Year:
  • Length:
    83 minutes
  • Language:
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
  • Connect:
Cast & Credits
  • Director:
    Leah Wolchok
  • Producer:
    Leah Wolchok, Davina Pardo
  • Editor:
    Nels Bangerter, Scott Stevenson
  • Cinematographer:
    Kirsten Johnson
  • Executive Producer:
    Regina K. Scully, Deborah Shaffer, Bruce Sinofsky
  • Composer:
    Max Avery Lichtenstein
  • Co-Producer:
    Joanna Sokolowski
  • Additional Cinematography:
    Liam Dalzell



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