The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival will launch its 2019 season with its annual Academy Awards screening gala on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m, at Ridgefield’s historic Lounsbury House. While Hollywood couldn’t find a suitable host for the Oscars ceremony, RIFF found not one but two, ensuring a night of laughs and surprises. Storyteller Lisa Lampanelli will co-host the event with 17-time New York Times best-selling author Jane Green.
Lampanelli, whose career in comedy spans 30 years, got the co-hosting gig after being introduced to RIFF Festival Director Megan Smith-Harris. “Megan and I clicked immediately — she’s also a funny broad with big ideas — so when she told me about the Oscar night gala, I was like, ‘Duh, OF COURSE, I’m in!’ I usually watch the Oscars home by myself tweeting mean things about people on the red carpet, but now that I’ve gone from the Queen of Mean to the Queen of Meaning, that’s no longer what I do. So, why not start a new tradition: being NICE on Oscar night,” Lampanelli said.
Smith-Harris joked, “with the lack of a formal host for the Academy Awards show in Hollywood, we thought we’d fill the void this year and include not just one, but two celebrity guest-hosts at the RIFF gala. These two funny, wise, warm, irreverent women are great friends and will bring their own personal warmth and sense of humor to the evening. We’re honestly not sure what either of them is going to say or do, but we know whatever it is, it’s going to be a lot fun.
“I am so grateful that they are lending their talents to our annual RIFF fundraiser and I know it’s going to be an absolute blast.”