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Lena Dunham’s Sundance Comedy ‘Sharp Stick’ Acquired by Utopia

Film will get a theatrical release later this year

Utopia has acquired the U.S. rights to writer-director-producer Lena Dunham’s Sundance comedy “Sharp Stick,” which follows a young woman’s unexpected quest of sexual exploration and self-discovery, Utopia announced on Monday.

Utopia will release the film theatrically in the U.S. later this year.

“I’ve been so impressed with how quickly Utopia has established itself as a brave and committed voice in independent and experimental film,” Dunham said in a statement. “They don’t cower from unusual or divisive work, and they have utter respect for the filmmakers’ voice, and I couldn’t feel luckier to be releasing Sharp Stick under their auspices.”

In her first feature since her 2010 debut, “Tiny Furniture,” Dunham drew from her own medical experiences for ”Sharp Stick,” which premiered at last month’s Sundance film festival.

“The film is about a young woman who is dealing with the trauma of a hysterectomy and illness that she suffered in her teens,” Dunham told TheWrap’s editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman at the virtual Sundance studio.

The film stars Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Taylour Paige, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dunham, Luka Sabbat, Tommy Dorfman and Scott Speedman.

In “Sharp Stick,” Froseth stars as Sarah Jo, a young woman who begins an affair with the father (Bernthal) of a child she babysits and whose own wife (Dunham) is pregnant. Sarah Jo lives at home with her mother (played by Jason Leigh — “our patron saint,” as Dunham put it) and her sister Treina (Paige), an aspiring TikTok influencer whose “inner turmoil doesn’t match the glossiness that she’s trying to project,” Dunham explained. “These two girls are sort of different sides of the coin of how women learn to project their sexuality out in society.”

Dunham tapped into her experience with endometriosis and her decision to undergo a hysterectomy at 31 for “Sharp Stick,” which she wrote, directed and produced. Making the film was both “an incredibly healing experience” and an “incredibly challenging experience,” she said. In addition to the heady material, she shot the movie during lockdown in just 14 and a half days, harkening back to the “scrappy spirit” of “Tiny Furniture,” which Dunham shot in her parents’ living room in New York City.

A production of FilmNation Entertainment and Good Thing Going, “Sharp Stick” was produced Dunham, Michael P. Cohen, Kevin Turen and Katia Washington. The executive producers are Ben Browning, Glen Basner, Taylour Paige, Jon Bernthal, Kenneth Yu and Will Greenfield, with cinematography by Ashley Connor, editing by Catrin Hedström, and music by Luis Felber and Matt Allchin.

The deal was negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo for Utopia and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.