in partnership
The director and star of Obvious Child reunite for this uproarious slice-of- life story about two sisters (Jenny Slate and breakout star Abby Quinn) in pre-cell-phone 1990s Manhattan who discover that their father is having an affair, and conspire to expose him. (Image: SIFF)

Jenny Slate debuts indy comedy at SIFF

Every year the Refined team looks forward to seeing great new movies at the Seattle International Film Festival. One of our favorite movies from this year's festival is a really touching comedy called 'Landline', starring Jenny Slate.

It's the story of two sisters in 1990s New York whose relationship suddenly changes when they discover their father is having an affair.

Slate, director Gillian Robespierre and co-star Abby Quinn actually came to town for the SIFF preview of the film. Slate and Robespierre worked together on a movie called 'Obvious Child' in 2014, and became fast friends.

“Whatever it is, I’ll do it. I don’t care!," said Slate. "I don’t care. Whatever Gillian wants me to do, I’ll do it. She became one of my best friends of my life on that film, so naturally you want to see that person again and if you have the added benefit of working with them, being creative…that’s the dream.”

"Jenny's a perfect collaborator," Robespierre agreed. "She's hilarious."

Robespierre made the conscious decision to shoot the film in the 1990s.

"I grew up in the 90s, in NYC and I am nostalgic for that era," she said. "We also wanted to get this device out of our story" - waves her phone around - "We wanted to tell a story about a family disconnecting, and then coming together and connecting in the end.”

Slate and newbie actress Abby Quinn, who plays her sister, were drawn to the script because of it's honesty and vulnerability.

“I have three siblings, and I think this was a heightened version of that," said Quinn.

"I don’t have this relationship with my sisters," said Slate. "We are very gentle on each-other and always have been. And Ali and Dana are not gentle on each-other. They really – I can’t believe some of the stuff they toss as each-other!”

In the movie, Jenny and Abby's parents are played by veteran actors Edie Falco and John Turturro. Acting alongside the legends was nerve-wracking for everyone involved.

“I think we both had a similar reaction which was like ‘keep your head down,'" said Slate. "Be very humble, do your work, be prepared, don’t spook them. I don’t want them to know that, I’m like – watching them! Because I'm studying them, because they are major acting gods.”

And Seattle is the perfect place to bring this film.

"Seattle feels like a super 90s place to me," said Slate. "When I think about the 90s I think of girl rock from Seattle, coffee becoming like a thing."

Keep an eye out for local theaters showing the film, online here.