EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Slash, Clay Liford’s coming-of-age drama set in the world of erotic fan fiction. Michael Johnston (MTV’s Teen Wolf), Hannah Marks (BBC’s upcoming Dirk Gently), Michael Ian Black and Missi Pyle star. The plan is for a limited theatrical release in the fall, including at select Alamo Drafthouse theaters. The film had its world premiere at SXSW in March.

The pickup comes just as Liford and Johnston hit Comic-Con for a Hall H panel at 3:30 PM today titled “Under the Radar,” highlighting the best of genre fare working its way through the festival circuit. Fitting, as a Comic-Con gets a role in the pic. XYZ Films negotiated the deal with Gravitas.

Slash, based on Liford’s short, centers on Neil (Johnston), an introverted, questioning high school freshman whose main social outlet is writing steamy fan fiction about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class, Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan-fic writer herself, she pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator (Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a Comic-Con live-read, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than professional — perhaps like his own feelings for Julia.

Check out the SXSW teaser trailer here.