If Brian O’Connor ever decides to produce a movie again, he knows to be ready for anything. The experience of making his first film has taught him all about that. “One day, I’m running to get everyone coffee, and the next, I’m writing the biggest check of my life,” he says. “But that’s my job.”
After enduring the dichotomy of fetching lattes one day and then shelling out big bucks, not to mention the details of turning a movie concept into a reality, the Haverford native can look forward to the August 19 release of Slow Learners, the romantic comedy he and his BBCG Films partners have spent four years birthing. Thanks to a great reception at April’s Tribeca Film Festival and further acclaim in Newport Beach, Slow Learners earned a distribution deal with IFC’s Sundance Selects boutique label in late May and will be rolled out in theaters and on-demand video this summer.
The movie, which stars Adam Pally (The Mindy Project) and Sarah Burns (HBO’s Enlightened), began its journey in 2011, when O’Connor teamed up with Oscar-winner and Wayne resident Tammy Tiehel-Stedman and MilkBoy Recording founders Jamie Lokoff and Tommy Joyner on a project originally titled, Bad Boys Crazy Girls. After countless stops and starts, plenty of frustration and hard work, the final project emerged earlier this year, and an invitation to Tribeca created the perfect opportunity to connect with a distributor. “There are people at Tribeca to see movies, but it’s also a marketplace for distributors and filmmakers to get together,” O’Connor says. “It’s a showcase where films are bought and distribution agreements are hammered out.”
Slow Learners played four times at Tribeca and once in Newport Beach about a week later. O’Connor reports that his most satisfying moments came when audiences laughed at what was supposed to be funny—although the red carpet treatment was pretty cool, too. “It validates what you thought,” O’Connor says of the reception.
The movie begins with a five-to-seven-minute stretch that culminates with a punch line and then the opening credits. O’Connor reports that in Newport Beach, the people started applauding at that moment, quite a harbinger of good things to come.
Although Sundance Selects hasn’t yet decided where the film will debut, it’s likely New York and Los Angeles will get the nod, with a wide distribution possible if the response in those two markets is positive. After that, it’s on to the next project, which as of yet hasn’t been identified. O’Connor reports that he’s read a few scripts—something he just loves to say—and is excited about what could come about. But he isn’t done enjoying the Slow Learners ride. “It’s a dream come true,” he says. “There has been a lot of hard work. It’s been a crazy, fun, emotional process, but here we are. As producers, our job is to make the good product. But that doesn’t guarantee anybody will see it. Now we’ll see if anybody likes the movie and if it gets some buzz.”
Read more about Brian O’Connor here.