The new documentary Very Semi-Serious gives a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of the New Yorker, specifically the cartoon department. An active part of the magazine since 1925, the cartoons have come to define the publication with their sardonic wit and wry take on humanity. Filmmaker Leah Wolchok tried to get the documentary project off the ground years ago only to receive a “no” from New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. But in the last six years, she’s continued her plight taking on producing partner Davina Pardo in the process. They were finally granted access to the magazine’s cartoon department and archives, and editor Bob Mankoff, which is a rarity, and are currently in production to tell the story of legendary cartoonists in the past, present, and future.
Though Very Semi-Serious has initial backing from the Tribeca Film Institute and Women Make Movies, they’re asking for donations per Kickstarter to finish the project. It’s disappointing that recent Kickstarter film projects have been giving the service a bad name, but it’s important to note that films of this stature are expensive to make. I was delighted by what they’ve shot so far and also saddened to learn that some of the older cartoonists have passed away during production. I’d love to see the finished product.
Learn more about the project here and check out a preview below.