Don’t Expect a ‘Coming Out’ Movie from Queer ‘I Used to Be Funny’ Director Ally Pankiw Any Time Soon

Ally Pankiw finds it hilarious that her debut feature, “I Used to Be Funny,” isn’t centering on a queer character, despite her own orientation.

While writer/director Pankiw, who is a queer filmmaker, noted that inherently all of her work has a “queer perspective” given her identity. “I Used to Be Funny” is about a stand-up comic, played by Rachel Sennott, who grapples with PTSD after a teen she used to nanny goes missing.

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Pankiw wants to see more queer filmmakers to tell stories that aren’t only queer — and not feel pigeonholed to make only “coming out” dramas.

“Dramedy and dark comedies, that’s really the world that I like playing in,” Pankiw told IndieWire. “Stuff that obviously centers around women and queer people and isn’t just about coming out. It’s always nice…You know, look, I’ve been out for 16 years. So the things that I make about queer people tend to be about things that happen after you come out, like all the different things that happen in life, just living life, but through a queer perspective. It’s just day-to-day.”

Pankiw added that since “I Used to Be Funny” has been in the works since 2013, her own approach to filmmaking has changed in the last decade.

“Complicated relationships between women is the throughline, I think, in all of my work,” Pankiw, who also directed the viral “Black Mirror” AI episode “Joan Is Awful,” said of her latest projects. “It is actually funny that ‘I Used to Be Funny’ is my first film because it’s not like a queer story. I’m obviously a queer filmmaker and maybe that inherently makes it queer. There’s also obviously queer characters in the film, but it’s just not about that. But I do have two features [in the works]. I’ve been writing one of them since 2015 and one of them since 2018. Both of my next two features are very gay.”

And instead of having coming out stories at the forefront, Pankiw’s two slated features and additional TV series rather showcase intergenerational relationships between queer women. Pankiw couldn’t share many details about any of the projects, but she did promise more of her now-signature dark comedy streak, no holds barred.

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