Arrow buys Kessler’s ‘Independent’

December release stars Stiller, Garofalo

Gotham-based Arrow Features has acquired theatrical, homevideo/DVD and international rights to Stephen Kessler’s laffer “The Independent,” starring Jerry Stiller and Janeane Garofalo.

Kessler (“Vegas Vacation”) helmed and co-wrote the pic with Mike Wilkins, who also produced. United Lotus Group financed in its frosh effort. Arrow plans a December release.

Pic centers on relentlessly independent filmmaker legend Morty Fineman (Stiller), who during his long career has made 427 pseudo-serious exploitation films with titles like “12 Angry Men and a Baby” and “Right to Live, Left to Die.” In desperation, Morty enlists his estranged daughter (Garofalo) to help save his struggling film company from bank foreclosure.

Supporting cast includes Max Perlich, Ethan Embry, Karen Black, Julie Strain, Andy Dick, Nick Cassavetes, Brittany Andrews, Ron Howard, Roger Corman and Johnny Rotten. Ben Stiller appears in an uncredited cameo.

Prize winner

Film played at the South by Southwest Festival and the Aspen Comedy Festival, and it received the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Slamdunk Festival at Park City.

Arrow veep of business and legal affairs John Cusimano and director of domestic distribution Michael Broder were matched with the filmmakers by Jeff Dowd. Deal was negotiated by Cusimano on behalf of Arrow and attorney Larry Marks on behalf of United Lotus Group.

Among Arrow’s upcoming theatrical releases are “Maelstrom,” which won five 2001 Canadian Genie awards, including best picture; British comedy “Milk”; and “The Curse.”

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