Back in April, Philly docu-film maker Don Argott reminded me of the romantic comedy that he and life-work partner Sheena Joyce directed. Starting Wednesday, August 19 the film hits select theaters.

Lensed throughout Center City, Slow Learners, starring Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Sarah Burns (Enlightened), Kate Flannery (The Office) and Veep co-stars Reid Scott and Kevin Dunn, is the first film from Philly's MilkBoy Entertainment — the cinematic offshoot of MilkBoy Studio — and its co-producers Jamie Lokoff and Tommy Joyner.

"They had a fun, solid script and we were looking to break into scripted narratives, so it was a win-win," said Argott in spring, ahead of screening at Tribecca Film Festival.


"The initial idea for this project is not what we ended up shooting. In fact, we spent about a year developing that story when our co-producer Tammy Tiehel Stedman brought us this script." says Lokoff of a direction that he and partner Joyner long wanted to pursue.
The movie, which has Judd Apatow romantic comedy tones, follows highschool friends and co-workers Jeff (Adam Pally) and Anne (Sarah Burns) as they try to reinvent themselves into sexy risk-takers.

Though they chose a script that was seemingly easy to film, the planning for Slow Learners started 5 years ago and it took until May of 2014 to begin shooting. "There are just so many moving parts that you have to nail down...and until we were shooting it wasn't anyone's full-time job, so that contributed to the time-table stretching out," says Joyner.
"It's been a busy bunch of years," Joyner says. "Money is always stressful!" In January of 2012 the pair sold off the Ardmore MilkBoy location and moved into Larry Gold's famed recording studio on N. 7th Street. Prior to that they moved the MilkBoy venue to 11th and Chestnut, where it currently resides.

"It seems like everything we do is a risk - music, bars...the film is right in line with what makes us tick," she says. "You invest in yourself and, hopefully, it works."
Sundance Selects, a division of IFC, picked up the film and it is now open in NYC theaters and on VOD. The movie will continue to roll out in other markets, including Philadelphia, on August 28 – likely at The Ritz.
"We hadn't even raised all the money to complete Slow Learners when we were filming it," she recalls. "We scrambled to raise money up until we got on the train to Tribeca Film Fest."

Joyner hopes that the movie will get wider distribution once its humor is recognized. "It was important that these characters were based in reality. We felt like we could hand over our baby to them and they would care for it like their own. And they did.

Lokoff and Joyner want to make another movie, even though they haven't crossed the finish line yet on this project. They speak of a project that's a combination of Stand by Me and Boyz in the Hood which they're hoping is "a real Philadelphia story."