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Friars Club launches film fest

To launch Sept. 24, focus on comedy

New York's Friars Club is launching a new annual comedy film festival, the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival. Running Sept. 24-27 in theaters around New York as well as at the club itself, it will benefit the Friars Foundation.

Events will include premieres of new comedy films, panel discussions with comedians and filmmakers and curated screenings of classic comedy movies featuring such past Friars members as W.C. Fields, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Announcing the fest, Friars Club exec director Michael Gyure said, "Many of our Friars have starred in some of the world's classic comedy movies from the days of Sinatra and the Rat Pack to Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. This festival will showcase both classic comedies and give new comedy films an arena to find an audience."

Festival executive director Charlie Prince and director Susannah Gora are both members of the club.

The fest's board of advisors include Jerry Lewis; producers Gil Cates, Tom Fontana and Mace Neufeld; "The View" co-host Joy Behar; actress Susan Lucci; comedians Joe Piscopo, Richard Belzer and Jeffrey Ross; and "The Today Show's" Al Roker.