Film to open U.S. Comedy Arts Festival

“Waitress,” written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, will open the 13th annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, which runs Feb. 28-March 4 in Aspen, Colo.

Fox Searchlight acquired the pic, which preemed at last month’s Sundance film fest, for a reported $4 million-$5 million. Keri Russell stars.

“Waitress” will be Shelly’s second film to appear at the HBO-sponsored fest. In 2000 she took the director prize for “I’ll Take You There.” Fest’s film lineup sports 30 features and 20 shorts. World premieres include Guy Shalem’s “Cook Off!,” Armen Kaprelian’s “Closing Escrow,” Frank Oz’s “Death at a Funeral,” Jim Pasternak’s “Certifiably Jonathan” and Gary Toll’s “Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You’ve Never Heard Of.”

The film program will also feature special screenings of works in progress including John Landis’ “The Rickles Project,” Tom Brady’s “The Comebacks” and Jamie Kennedy’s “Heckler.”

Jury awards will be announced at the kudofest on March 3.

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