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HBO Nabs New Yorker Cartoonist Documentary ‘Very Semi-Serious’

HBO Documentary Films has picked up the rights to “Very Semi-Serious,” Leah Wolchok’s documentary about New Yorker cartoonists, for broadcast beginning in December following a limited theatrical run.

“Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists,” which had its world premiere as part of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, centers on the cartoonists and the editor behind the iconic single-panel cartoons that have become synonymous with the New Yorker magazine. The documentary includes interviews with New Yorker staffers including cartoon editor Bob Mankoff and editor David Remnick as well as artists such as Roz Chast and Mort Gerberg.

The movie earned largely positive reviews out of Tribeca. Writing in Variety, critic Scott Foundas called the film “delightful” and predicted it would find the kind of niche audience picked up by other media-world docs such as “The September Issue.”

“Very Semi-Serious” will play in New York and L.A. Nov. 20-Dec. 3 ahead of a Dec. 7 premiere on HBO. Cinetic Media made the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

Director Wolchok produced alongside Davina Pardo with executive producers Regina K. Scully, Deborah Shaffer and Bruce Sinofsky, as well as Joanna Sokolowski as co-producer.

Over its 15-year lifespan, Tribeca has picked up a reputation as a strong launchpad for documentaries, with films including “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and “Bully” getting earlier showcases there.

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