The 3rd Annual Matricher Falls Internationel Film Festival is a follow-up to a chaotically hilarious mockumentary called, The Show Can’t Go On! Written and directed by Cherie Kerr, the events detail the final fizz out of a burned-out sketch comedy writer/director. Playing herself, Kerr oversees an offbeat cast and crew and wonderfully exaggerates the lunacy of production. So a year later, the cavalcade is at it again, and the same antics apply. Unfortunately, the onslaughts of conflict and incompetence that previously produced critical masses of comedy doesn’t come across as uproariously. But that’s no reason to put aside the 89 minute film. The sarcasm still singes, and this time Kerr has a cause. Film festivals the target, the uncertain nature of the circuit is taken to task and makes this a must see for any filmmaker trying to make a name.

The film begins back at the original theatrical space, and eventually moving to the heartland, the events feel like they are actually happening. The Chris Warren cinematography makes the scenes seem second nature and operate like real time. At the same time, the actors give us characters who continually fight to be heard, and with their combative banter never taking turns, we feel like a referee trying to sort through the fouls. All together, it’s as if the characters are going to come off the screen and into our personal space.

Nonetheless, this new production completely unravels at the outset. Unchanged in the year gone by, Kerr’s frayed directorial impulses continue to persist, and her troupe can’t keep up. Cassie (Robin Fitzgerald), Greta (Barbara Wilder) and Estella (Elizabeth Millan) haven’t missed a beat either, and after cackling on too long, Kerr capitulates. She fires the actresses, and re-retirement provides the inciting incident.

The actresses threaten to sue, and it’s revealed that the previous production had cameras spying the entire time. Agreeing to share the rights to the footage, the warring factions are sure the right dose of editing will yield a feature documentary that could sweep the festival circuit.

Off kilter, the editing process amuses as expected and puts the new film in the can. Thus, the search for acceptance begins. Of course, Kerr, Maynard (Matt Morrison) and Mitchell (Rich Flin) have no idea what they are doing, and the synergy of stupidity makes for the standard chortles.

The message stands out more than the laughs, though. While filmmakers are willing to invest money for their shot, do they spend the commensurate time to ensure the experience suits their film and creates the best possible exposure?

These three certainly don’t. But they aren’t lucky enough to have a choice, because only Matricher Falls accepts. Novices again, the whole cadre is overcome, and the actors oozing a gleeful ignorance, we can’t help wondering how many filmmakers start shoveling over money.

Official photographers, seminars, buffets, after-parties and eager distributors with their wallets open – all accumulate expense. But since their film is a shoe in, the credit card keeps clicking. Now the offerings can obviously serve a valuable purpose, but an assumption is being made. It’s a festival, so everything must be good to go.

Unfortunately, the real thing proves otherwise, and we don’t have to actually arrive at the festival to start seeing problems. The first level of concern is the tie to the local economy.

In Matricher Falls, gravy makes this town unique, and they put the brown stuff on everything – including salad. A golden ladle being the prized trophy, the line is blurred between the integrity of the festival, and the lengths the municipality will go to ensure commercial success.

Of course, the satire lays the gravy on thick, and the waiter (Russell Felbob) exemplifies the problem. Continually pitching the staple, Felbob has his character so immersed in the marketing that he no longer recognizes the mythology he is promoting.

Moving on, the crew doesn’t necessarily run into a conspiracy of corruption that means to exploit filmmakers. Instead, the organizers have little incentive to raise their professional game. Simply said, they have a captive audience of gullible filmmakers who are eager to hand over their money. So why bother?

Bob (Robbie Nelson) is the poster child, and he shines when confronted over the various failings. A total amateur, his greatest skill is placating the complaints with enough plausible deniability, and thereby giving him plenty of room to segue elsewhere.

Still, our fellow travelers are right at home. They are set up to fail from their own perspective and that of the festival. A laughing matter, the excess is easy to identify. But Matricher Falls also gets the message across. If the festival circuit lays ahead, filmmakers need to proceed. . . with caution.