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IFC Films has acquired North American rights to Sleepwalk With Me, the Sundance Film Festival movie from comedian Mike Birbiglia. The company also acquired rights to the film in several other territories.
Birbiglia directed and stars in the movie based on his own experiences as a comedian whose life is upended by dangerous bouts of sleepwalking. He also co-wrote and produced it with Ira Glass, host of Chicago Public Media’s public radio show This American Life, to which Birbiglia contributes.
Birbiglia, who suffers from REM behavior disorder, has shared his personal experiences as a sleepwalker in his off-Broadway show Sleepwalk with Me, and a book of partly the same name (Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories, a 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor finalist and New York Times best seller).
The film, which premiered Jan. 23 in Sundance’s Next section, stars Lauren Ambrose and Birbiglia as the burgeoning stand-up comic who struggles with his career, love life and sleepwalking. Birbiglia’s real-life sleepwalking disorder caused him to jump out of the second-story window of a hotel in Walla Walla, Wash. A version of the incident is shown in the film.
In January, Birbiglia told The Hollywood Reporter that over the course of performing his Sleepwalk With Me play, which bowed in November 2008, he and Glass linked up and decided to make it into a film.
“It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, hands down — nothing even compares — and I came away going, ‘That was hard. I want to do that again,'” Birbiglia said.
Birbiglia’s brother, Joe Birbiglia and theater director Seth Barrish co-wrote the film. Glass and Jacob Jaffke produced.
IFC and its various labels acquired seven other 2012 Sundance films, including Predisposed, Simon Killer and Liberal Arts.
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