Aussie director gets celebrity backing for debut film
When E! network host Maria Menounos and her partner, producer-director Keven Underago, saw footage of This Isn’t Funny in post, they volunteered to join the team of producers.
That tie-up could be an asset as the romantic comedy, the directing debut of Canberra-born, US-based actor and filmmaker Paul Ashton, is launched on the US festival circuit to help facilitate deals with distributors in the US, Australia and the rest of the world.
Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Gia Carides, Angie Milliken, Katie Page and Ashton, the film will have its world premiere on March 27 at the Cleveland International Film Festival, followed by the Dallas International Film Festival.
Ashton, who co-wrote the screenplay with Page, plays Jamie, a perpetual traveller who brims with unfulfilled potential. Page is Eliot, a stand-up comic with a severe anxiety disorder. They fall for each other, romance blossoms then fractures, forcing them to examine their preconceptions about family and identity.
LaPaglia plays a co-worker of Jamie’s character and Milliken is his mother. Carides plays a Chelsea Handler- type talk show host who gives Eliot her first break.
The cast includes Mimi Rogers (Two and a Half Men), Danielle Panabaker (TV’s Bones, Necessary Roughness), Edi Gathegi (the Twilight franchise), David Pasquesi (HBO’s Veep), and Mark Harelik.
“Keven and Maria came on board after being involved with several projects with Paul over the past few years,” the executive producer, Metropolitan Entertainment's Pierce Cravens, tells IF.
“Once they saw the rushes they decided they had to be part of it. They will both be heavily involved in how the film rolls out through festivals and on to its eventual release.
“We are currently exploring international/Australian sales rep and distribution opportunities but have not made any commitments at this point.”
Cravens hopes that landing a spot for the film at the Sydney or Melbourne film festivals will set the stage for the Australian launch.