The Cinema Guild picks up dark comedy NATURAL SELECTION

by: Julian Stark
July 20th, 2011

The Cinema Guild acquires NATURAL SELECTION

The dark comedy NATURAL SELECTION served as the directorial debut for Robbie Pickering. Comedies aren’t often lauded at film festivals or awards shows, but the film picked up several major awards at the SXSW Film Festival this year; that includes two awards for Best Narrative Feature and breakthrough performance awards for Rachael Harris (THE HANGOVER) and Matt O’Leary (BRICK).

Thankfully, the Cinema Guild has taken over stateside distribution rights for NATURAL SELECTION. It seems that Harris’ performance, as a devoted housewife who finds out a shocking secret about her husband, is what’s sparking most of the talk, so she’s likely to be a huge marketing point for the film.

Can Harris make her way into the awards season as a major contender? That still remains to be seen, but at least we can look forward to a quirky, intelligent comedy led by a terrific actress who’s excitedly made her breakthrough.

Check out the official press release of the acquisition below, courtesy of indieWIRE.

"New York, NY —The Cinema Guild announced today the acquisition of all U.S. distribution rights to Robbie Pickering’s award-winning debut “Natural Selection,” a wonderfully irreverent indie comedy featuring one of the year’s best performances in Rachael Harris (“The Hangover”) as a devoted housewife who’s carefully ordered life is turned upside down when she sets out to find her husband’s long lost son. “Natural Selection” will open in theaters this fall.

When a dutiful Texas housewife (Rachael Harris) discovers that her devout husband has suffered a stroke at a sperm bank where he’s been secretly donating for the past 25 years, she leaves her sheltered world and starts off on a comedic journey to find his eldest biological son (Matt O’Leary from “Brick” and “Frailty”), a mullet-headed, foul-mouthed ex-con. Along the way, Linda’s wonderfully bizarre relationship with Raymond will teach her more about herself than she ever imagined possible.

“Natural Selection” was written and directed by Robbie Pickering, produced by Brion Hambel and Paul Jensen of Best Medicine Productions, and executive produced by Justin Moore-Lewy and Charlie Mason. In addition to Harris and O’Leary, the film stars Jon Gries (“Napoleon Dynamite” and “Real Genius”) and John Diehl (“Miami Vice” and “Stargate”).

“Natural Selection” premiered in competition at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival and went on to win seven awards, including the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Breakthrough Performance for both Rachael Harris and Matt O’Leary, Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Score/Music.

Born and raised in Jersey Village, Texas, Robbie Pickering graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has written and directed several award-winning short films and commercials. “Natural Selection” marks his feature directorial debut.

Rachael Harris stole her scenes as the pitch-perfect, irritating girlfriend of Ed Helms in the number one R-rated comedy of all time, “The Hangover.” She had previously co-starred with Helms as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” Other film credits include: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” “For Your Consideration” and “Starsky & Hutch.”

“We’re extremely excited to be releasing ‘Natural Selection.’ Robbie Pickering’s debut is a smart, funny indie gem centered around a performance by Rachael Harris that’s sure to be one of the most talked about this year,” commented Ryan Krivoshey. “We’re eager to bring this film to audiences and look forward to working with the entire ‘Natural Selection’ team.”

The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey of The Cinema Guild with Maren Olson and Asher Goldstein of Traction Media, and Peter Trinh of ICM. ICM also represents Matt O’Leary.

The Cinema Guild is a distributor of independent, foreign and documentary films, whose next release is Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’s acclaimed documentary “The Interrupters.” Other upcoming releases include Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” co-winner of the Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Bela Tarr’s “The Turin Horse” and Hong Sangsoo’s “The Day He Arrives.”"

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