Finding The Asshole is a series of three short films that are a Lynchian romp through a playful yet scathing social critique that is absurd, haunting, and incredibly funny. The series explores the mundane minutiae of the human condition to show how we’re all assholes. Chapter 1 explores the assholes of boutique clothing, Chapter 2 explores all the ways in which you can be an asshole when simply walking on a sidewalk, and Chapter 3 delves into parties and horror and all of the crossover asshole cliches lurking about.

The first of the three chapters screened at Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 25-29 2019, featured in the all-new Episodes category which focuses on the next generation of series storytellers who are distorting familiar story structures with unfiltered or unique setups and story arcs.  In addition to the Episodes program screening at Slamdance, all three chapters are simultaneously released on Vimeo on January 25, 2019: the first day of the festival.

The series came about following Melissa Stephens’ first short film Peen (starring Mary Elizabeth EllisChristine Woods and Melissa Stephens) which premiered as a staff pick on Vimeo, tackling heavier gendered themes (Watch Peen Here). She came to Tom DeTrinis, explaining some other ruminations that had been haunting her about the absurd hilarity of humanity, with the objective of creating something beautiful and hilarious. DeTrinis agreed, so Stephens wrote and directed and DeTrinis produced.

Drawing on influence and adoration for foreign films from Danish to UK and Korean works, Stephens has honed her specific cinematic voice throughout this series. She creates worlds and then allows the world and the camera to take part in the storytelling role. “It’s important as a female filmmaker and comedian to show how we can nail absurd comedy along with being in grounded reality. I love when someone gets the sadness and ridiculousness of this piece because it’s like capturing a lightning bug in a bottle,” says Stephens. “I hope everyone laughs as hard as we did while making it, and I also hope they feel a little bit uncomfortable and confused because such is life.”

Executive Producer, Leslye Headland calls Stephens “a truly gonzo talent.” Headland, a champion for diverse and female filmmakers and their unconventional content adds, “Finding The Asshole hits that artistic sweet spot between comedy and chaos. It transcends traditional sketch comedy to give audiences a wild experience with its feverish originality and social commentary. Melissa and her co-creator, Tom DeTrinis, have assembled a diverse and stellar team of collaborators who perform with manic enthusiasm.”

Find our more about the series and watch episodes here.

About MELISSA STEPHENS (Writer/Director/Actor/Producer)

Melissa Stephens is a comedian, actor, writer and director from the peach state. After graduating high school she headed for New York City to pursue her acting career. She studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and after graduation she relocated to LA. She is a founding member of IAMA Theatre Company performing in the world premiere of Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette, Reverb and Cult of Love. Once in LA she dove into the comedy scene where she became a member of Groundlings Sunday Company and regularly performs stand up all around town. She wouldn’t be a comedian without a podcast and hers is called Fear Based Life. She’s been creating her own work since she came to LA and it all lead to her directing. Her directorial debut PEEN was a Vimeo Staff Pick, and she writes and directs the short series Finding The Asshole which was chosen to show at Slamdance.

TV/Film: Californication, Outsourced, Key and Peele, Transparent, Bajillion Dollar Listings, Black Monday, New Girl, House of Lies, My Good Man’s Gone, Rhett and Links Buddy System, Knife Fight, North Blvd,Thin But Poor, Get Up & We’re Here Finding The Asshole Theatre: Bachlorette, Reverb, Cult Of Love, Species, Do Like The Kids Do, Peen.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.