Comedian Mike Birbiglia co-wrote, co-directed, and stars in the new comedy Sleepwalk With Me, but why should his responsibilities to the movie end there? In order to help get the word out about Sleepwalk, which is coming off a successful festival run that started with big buzz at Sundance, Birbiglia and his co-writer Ira Glass (host of “This American Life”) have teamed up to make this funny short film about the movie, which Vulture is exclusively premiering. “The thing about independent films is that it’s really hard to get them into movie theaters,” Birbiglia tells Vulture. “They want movies that are remakes of other movies, they want superheroes to be in them, and this is a small heartfelt comedy that we really love and that audiences have loved at festivals. All these people have been e-mailing us asking when it’s coming to their town, and it’s not unless they request it!”
The film, which stars Birbiglia as a commitment-wary man given to increasingly dangerous sleepwalking, will be opening in New York on August 24, and though plenty of indie films never expand much further than a handful of big cities, Birbiglia and Glass are determined to do things differently. Birbiglia says he compiled a list of the 200 theaters most often used by distributor IFC Films, then exhorted his fans on Twitter (while Glass leveraged his “This American Life” listener base) to tweet the hashtag #bringsleepwalk at the theater closest to them. “At this point, we’ve almost tripled our theater count, just through this grassroots campaign,” says Birbiglia, noting that the jump from 34 theaters to 98 has happened in only two weeks.
Fans can continue to request the movie via Twitter and Sleepwalk’s official site, and if you should need more convincing, take a look at the video Birbiglia and Glass have made to seal the deal.