Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to the romantic comedy “Keep the Change,” written and directed by Rachel Israel, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Keep the Change,” starring newcomers Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon, won the Tribeca Film Festival’s awards for Best U.S. narrative feature and best new narrative director last year along with a special mention for the Nora Ephron Prize. At last summer’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the film won the best debut and Fipresci awards.
Set in New York, the story centers on the struggles by Polansky’s character to come to terms with his own high-functioning autism, when he unexpectedly falls for a quirky and outgoing woman whose lust for life both irks and fascinates him. “Keep the Change” is based on an award-winning short film developed by Israel and Polansky that was inspired by Polansky’s experiences at Adaptations, a community for adults on the autism spectrum.
Israel worked with non-professional actors from Adaptations to create fictional versions of themselves for the film. Other cast members include Jessica Walter, Tibor Feldman, Sondra James, and Johnathan Tchaikovsky. The film was produced by Summer Shelton, Todd Remis, and Kurt Enger with Anne Hubbell, Amy Hobby, Philip Ruedi and Laura Staich as executive producers.
Nick Schager gave the film a positive review at Tribeca for Variety: “Winner of the best narrative feature and best new narrative director prizes at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, it’s an ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.”
“‘Keep the Change’ has been a labor of love for all involved, from our cast to our crew, our producers, and our community partners at the JCC’s Center for Special Needs,” Israel said. “We made a unique, risk-taking film and it is wonderful to see it come to light on the big screen. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnered with Kino Lorber, and to have their exceptional taste and reputation behind the film.”
Kino Lorber will open “Keep the Change” in New York on March 16, following its screening as the opening night feature of the 2018 ReelAbilities Film Festival. A national expansion will follow. The deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber’s Wendy Lidell and Cinetic’s Jason Ishikawa.