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Sundance: John Slattery’s ‘God’s Pocket’ Gets U.S. Distribution from IFC

Dark comedy premiered on Jan. 17

IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to John Slattery’s directorial debut “God’s Pocket,” five days after the dark comedy’s world premiere at Sundance.

Slattery directed “Pocket” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Alex Metcalf. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro star.

Producers are Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Lance Acord, and Emily Ziff, along with Hoffman and Slattery.

Based on the novel by Pete Dexter, the film is set in a gritty blue-collar neighborhood in Philadelphia, where the lead character tries to cover up his stepson’s death in a construction accident. When a local columnist comes sniffing around for the truth, things go from bad to worse.

Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a negative review, calling it “drab and uninvolving.”

Producer Jackie Kelman Bisbee added, “It was an honor to produce John’s first feature as a director. He’s a natural actor’s director. Watching him work with the cast and crew was utterly exciting. John created characters of ‘God’s Pocket’ with soulful hearts and criminal minds. Always at odds with each other as they try to get to the other side. But never getting too far.”

Festival programmer Trevor Groth said this of the film: “Acclaimed actor John Slattery makes an impressive jump behind the camera with an assured directorial debut that shows he has a razor-sharp eye for conveying the absurdity, cruelty, desperation, and tragic optimism of the people he portrays. Like life, his scenes seamlessly fuse humor and heartbreak, but it’s Slattery’s wit and confident style that make the portrait so authentic. Featuring a top-shelf cast and impeccable cinematography, God’s Pocket oozes with talent and marks the emergence of an inspired directorial presence.”

Popular on Variety

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, SVP of Acquisitions at Productions, at Sundance Selects/IFC Films, with Jay Cohen at the Gersh Agency, and attorney Marc H. Simon of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams and Sheppard, on behalf of the filmmakers.

IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight and Sundance Selects, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

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