RML Attorney’s Short Film Sees Success at Festivals


One Sunday morning recently, I awoke to an email that a short documentary I made, called Just Laugh, was accepted into the Phoenix Film Festival.

But let’s back up. I have a philosophical question: are lawyers human? It’s a fair question. In the stressful grind of a law practice, it is easy for a lawyer to lose sight of the bigger-picture impact of our work. Sadly, the stereotype of the profit-motivated cynical lawyer has some truth.

My name is Kemp. Yes, I am lawyer, an employment attorney to be exact. But I am way more. I am a father, a husband, a musician, an occasional actor, a public servant, and, most recently, a filmmaker!

When I brought my employment law practice over to RML in January, 2023, I knew I was home. My colleagues, like me, are human. Andy has a passion for music and service to his church. Will is a community leader, a legendary chef, and the world’s biggest Swiftie. All of us have stories to tell about the passions that give our lives meaning and keep us grounded.

When I began my practice 20 years ago, I also started volunteering at Theatre Winter Haven, another community that is home to me. Recently, we attempted a very difficult and dangerous comedy about a troupe of actors attempting to put on a play where things start going very badly. Two actors get in a fight on stage, a technician falls asleep, and the set literally collapses to the floor in the final scene. On a whim, I set up some little cameras to document how we pulled off these challenges behind-the-scenes. I interviewed some of the other volunteers, and a compelling story emerged about exactly what I’m talking about here: finding a community of friends passionate about life.

Many hours of editing later, I have a tight 16-minute documentary that film festivals are programming. So far, three have picked up Just Laugh: Ely, Minnesota; the Short. Sweet. Film Fest in Cleveland; and the Phoenix Film Festival. I am waiting to hear from dozens more, including several closer to home.

So, if we meet to talk about a discrimination case, or an overtime issue, and you detect a little more passion and thoughtfulness in my approach than you expected from a lawyer, it’s because I am a human, first, and I am proud to bring my humanity and passion to work with me.

You can keep up with Just Laugh and upcoming screenings at http://justlaughfilm.com or http://facebook.com/justlaughfilm. We will have a local screening or two in fall, 2024, and then I plan to release it online for all to see.