Rachel Sennott-Starrer ‘I Used to Be Funny’ Lands at Utopia (Exclusive)

Rachel Sennott-Starrer ‘I Used to Be Funny’ Lands at Utopia (Exclusive)

After distributing Rachel Sennot’s breakout movie Shiva Baby, Utopia has landed the U.S. rights to the SXSW feature I Used to Be Funny starring The Idol actress.

The comedy-drama follows Sam (Sennott), an aspiring stand-up comedian struggling with PTSD, as she decides whether or not to join the search for a missing teenage girl she used to nanny. Jason Jones, Sabrina Jalees, Caleb Hearon, Olga Petsa, and Ennis Esmer round out the cast

Ally Pankiw, whose credits include The Great and Black Mirror, made her feature directorial debut on the film, which was produced by James Weyman, Jason Aita and Breann Smordin of A Barn 12. Li-Wei Chu of Partizan, Judy Holm of Markham Street Films and Alcina Pictures’ Paul Barkin executive produced, along with Pankiw.

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“It was so fulfilling to see how I Used to Be Funny and its honest portrayal of recovery from trauma resonated with audiences at SXSW and now it’s an even bigger honor to know that we will be able to share this film and its message with more film lovers,” said Pankiw in a statement. “I could not be more thrilled to be partnering with a filmmaker-focused company like Utopia to continue to tell this nuanced story.”

“With I Use to Be Funny, Ally Pankiw proves herself to be an incisive and sophisticated writer-director, bringing humor and mystery to a woman’s journey through trauma in a way that both surprises and resonates,” said Utopia’s Danielle DiGiacomo. “We’re thrilled to celebrate her vision and to work once again with the magnetically talented Rachel Sennott, who captivated audiences in our breakthrough release, Shiva Baby.”

Utopia proved to be a major player at this year’s Cannes market, landing Un Certain Regard winner Omen and The Sweet East, starring Jacob Elordi and Talia Ryder, for North America.

WME Independent negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.