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How A UM Film Graduate Coaxed Writer David Sedaris Onto The Big Screen

Screen Media / Focus Features


Most writers are thrilled to get attention from Hollywood. But not David Sedaris.

For years, the humorist and frequent NPR contributor has fended off advances from movie producers eager to turn his mordant essays into blockbusters.

So how did a young filmmaker who cut his teeth in Miami -- and who has only one other movie to his credit -- become the first to get a Sedaris story to the big screen?

Thirty-year-old Kyle Patrick Alvarez first read Sedaris' autobiographical short story, "C.O.G.," when he was a teenager.

He says the characters stayed with him for a long time -- all throughout his years in the University of Miami's film program and well after he moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at directing.

He knew that Sedaris was notoriously gun-shy about having his work adapted for the big screen. But during a book signing in Irvine, Alvarez handed Sedaris a DVD of his debut film, "Easier With Practice."

Credit Screen Media / Focus Features
'C.O.G' director and University of Miami alumnus Kyle Patrick Alvarez.

"I just said, 'If you like the film, I'd like to talk to you about some ideas,' " recounts Alvarez. "He responded well to the movie, sent me a nice e-mail and it started a dialogue between us."

Apparently, the tactic Alvarez used worked like a charm.  "C.O.G." opens this Friday in theaters nationwide  -- including Miami's O Cinema.  

"C.O.G." was inspired by Sedaris's experiences as a young man, when he set out to find himself after college and took a job as an apple picker in Oregon.

The film stars actor Jonathan Groff, best known for his role on television's "Glee."  

"C.O.G." opens Friday, September 20th at O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th Street Miami, FL (305) 571-9970