The Planters, a do-it-yourself dark comedy written, directed by and starring Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder in a film they crewed themselves, has scored a North American rights deal via 1091 Pictures. A September theatrical release followed by a December 8 on-demand bow is in the works.
In what could be one template for making a movie during the pandemic, Kotcheff and Leder shot for 127 days entirely without an on-set crew. They remained in isolation other than trips to the supermarket, a bike shop and gas stations for long drives to the pic’s desert locations. The longtime friends handled their own cinematography, production design, costumes, and hair & makeup. The pic also was helped by landing a Women in Film Finishing Fund grant.
The result is the pair’s debut feature, which follows Martha Plant (Kotcheff), an awkward telemarketer who’s down and out — sucking at her job and grieving her recently deceased parents. When she finds unlikely friendship in Sadie Mayflower (Leder), a bubbly vagrant with multiple personalities, Martha discovers having three friends in one might be more than she bargained for. Phil Parolisi and cinema veteran Pepe Serna have supporting roles.
Kotcheff, Leder and Jacqueline Beiro are producers, with Beiro entirely working from off the set.
Here’s the trailer:
“Our film is really about a group of isolated, lonely people who find connection and meaning through one another. Living in the times we are in now, it feels more apropos than ever to be releasing it into the world,” Kotcheff and Leder said of the pic, which has picked up honors at festivals including Austin and Raindance.
The deal was negotiated by Janne Barklis on behalf of the filmmakers and by Lev Avery-Peck of 1091 Pictures.
“Alexandra and Hannah are trailblazers when it comes to DIY filmmaking,” Avery-Peck said. “With their debut feature Kotcheff and Leder have established their unique voice through stunning visuals and comedic storytelling. There isn’t anything else like this on the market and I am thrilled to work with such talented filmmakers.”
Kotcheff and Leder are repped by Gersh.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.