IFC Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the suburban satire “Greener Grass,” a surprise sensation out of the midnight section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The film, which marks the directorial debut of filmmaking duo Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, will be released this year under the IFC Midnight Banner. The film was included in IndieWire’s Memo to Distributors at the end of the festival as one of the sales titles worthy of release.
“It’s one of those films that I had no expectation of or didn’t really know that much about going in,” IFC EVP of Acquisitions and Productions Arianna Bocco said, in a phone interview. “I just thought it was so fresh and such amazing voices that I just hadn’t seen. And I thought, everyone probably won’t love this movie, but I think that the people who do will embrace it so hard and talk about it so much. It’s so quotable, and it’s so unique, and those are the kind of things that we look for. I couldn’t believe that I just had watched something so entertaining.”
DeBoer and Luebbe, alumnae of the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, also star in “Greener Grass” as housewives in a pristine neighborhood, where everyone wears pastels — the guys all in shorts, the women in sun dresses — and viciously, but passive aggressively, compete against each other for social standing. “Saturday Night Live” cast member Beck Bennett also stars, as the husband of DeBoer’s character.
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DeBoer and Luebbe created a short film version of “Greener Grass” as a proof-of-concept for an intended TV series treatment. That short won Special Jury Recognition for Writing at SXSW in 2016. The duo then worked with the IFC TV channel to turn it into a show, but as they were writing it decided to turn it into a feature instead.
“You can say they’re the next ‘X’ duo, or female comedy team, but they’re so unique individually and so unique as a team,” Bocco said. “I think they’re going to go very far because of how distinct they are.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco (IFC) and 30WEST on behalf of the filmmakers. Kinology is handling international sales.