It’s no small compliment when the year’s biggest director backs your project. That’s what happened to comedian Mike Birbiglia, whose directorial debut Sleepwalk With Me got an unorthodox endorsement from Joss Whedon yesterday.

In a video posted on the This American Life blog by Birbiglia’s NPR cohort, Ira Glass, Whedon urged fans to demand Sleepwalk With Me in their local theaters so that they could then boycott it. Why? He explains that its limited theatrical run – which begins August 24th –  will overshadow his work The Avengers, as the blockbuster now shows on a mere 500 screens. See his desperate plea (wink, wink) below:

Whedon wasn’t the only one in on the joke. Glass – who will soon accompany Birbiglia on a promotional tour for the film – played along with the funny bit by writing Fine. If it’s war he wants, it’s war he’ll get. I don’t know what’s more humorous – the video, or the idea of Ira Glass threatening someone.

Regardless, it’s no surprise that Whedon, in his own twisted way, would do his part to support independent film. Despite his recent mega-success, the writer/director/producer definitely saw his share of disappointments as he made the transition from the small screen to feature films. (Serenity, anyone?) That independent spirit apparently hasn’t left him, as he only spent 12 days shooting a mostly unknown cast for his low budget version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The pet project will makes its debut next month at TIFF.

Do you think more big directors should promote independent cinema? 

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