Gillian Robespierre’s debut feature, the comedy Obvious Child, was picked up for U.S. distribution by A24 Films. The film made its world premiere as part of the NEXT competition sidebar at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival and stars Jenny Slate as a recently dumped twenty-something Brooklynite who finds herself pregnant and jobless on Valentine’s Day. Robespierre wrote the film as well, along with fellow newcomers Karen Maine, Elisabeth Holm and Anna Holm.
The film may strike as breakthrough of sorts for Slate, a comedian best known for her work as a part of the 2009-2010 season of Saturday Night Live. She has also carved out her career with parts of the television shows Parks & Recreation and House of Lies; this marks her first starring role in a feature. The film started out as a 2009 short film of the same name; the filmmaker raised some of the funding for the film using Kickstarter like another Sundance premiere – the Zach Braff dramedy Wish I Was Here, which was just picked up by Focus Features. The film co-stars Jack Lacey (The Office), Gaby Hoffmann (current Indie Spirit Best Actress nominee for The Crystal Fairy), David Cross, Polly Draper and Richard Kind. The Guardian‘s Xan Brooks described the film, “Obvious Child might hail from the same grungy sorority as Frances Ha or Lena Dunham’s Girls, but it has a bounce and vitality that is inimitably its own.”
This marks the second major purchase of the Sundance Film Festival for the upstart A24 Films, who also acquired distribution rights to the Lynn Shelton film Laggies starring Keira Knightley and made an impression in the past year with buzzy releases Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, and The Spectacular Now, and was a player last fall, acquiring Under the Skin, which will released this spring, as well as The Rover, Locke, and Enemy.