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Upstarts in the ‘Know’

Hit spawns pic follower

Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery in the movie world — and sometimes the road to breakout B.O. At least that’s what the novice producers of mockumentary “Never Been Thawed” are hoping.

Pic, made for $25,000 by Phoenix-based comedy troupe Slippery Chicken hopes to emulate the surprise success of “What the Bleep Do We Know,” the self-financed New Age docu that has grossed $11 million.

“Thawed” follows eight collectors of frozen TV dinners, who hoard their treasures in freezers and search supermarket aisles for rarities.

Pic would seem to have little in common with the earnest “What the Bleep” other than beginning as the longest of longshots. But so far, “Thawed” is hewing to the path of “Bleep.”

Last month the film won the Breakout Filmmaker prize at the Sedona Film Festival; “What the…” took the nod at last year’s fest.

“What the Bleep” launched last year by getting booked by the Harkins chain in Arizona; “Thawed” will begin its run at a Harkins site April 15.

The aim is to mine the same appetite for mockumentaries such as “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show” and subversive comedies in the vein of “Napoleon Dynamite.” The plan is to slowly expand in Arizona and wait for Hollywood to come calling.

“Phoenix is a young city with tons of colleges,” says exec producer Evan Astrowsky, whose Hollywood resume includes “Cabin Fever” and “Mini’s First Time.” “It’s going to be a great place to get momentum.”

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