Magnolia buys ‘Ira & Abby’

Film won audience award at L.A. Film Fest

“Ira & Abby,” the sophomore writing effort from “Kissing Jessica Stein” scribe and star Jennifer Westfeldt, has sold to Magnolia Pictures.

Romantic comedy examines relationships via a marriage between the over-deliberate Ira (Chris Messina) and the free-spirited Abby (Westfeldt). Pic won the audience award for best feature at the L.A. Film Festival last year and the same kudo at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival this year.

Robert Cary (“Save Me”) directs the pic. Frances Conroy, Robert Klein and Jason Alexander also have roles in the ensem-ble pic. Movie is set for release later this year.

In addition to penning the screenplay, Westfeld exec produced the movie with Ilana Levine.

Girl-on-girl romance “Stein” was something of an arthouse hit for Searchlight in 2002, earning more than $7 million at the box office. Westfeldt co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the movie.

Thesp has since had roles in other pics, including New Line’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” but has not penned another movie.

Magnolia acquisitions topper Tom Quinn and biz-affairs chief Jason Janego ne-gotiated the “Abby” deal with Rena Ronson and Phil Alberstat of William Mor-ris Independent and Brad Zions, the movie’s producer.

Movie will be in the Cannes market, with sales repped by Odd Lot International.

Magnolia has several of movies set for release this summer, including Sundance acquisitions “Crazy Love,” Dan Klores’ doc about a twisted marriage and “The Signal,” a horror film centered on modern forms of communication.

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