I Used to Be Funny

Sam, portrayed by Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, 2020), drifts through her days in a haze. With her flatmates, with whom she used to share the stage during her days of stand-up comedy, Sam grapples with overcoming a traumatic experience. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she is faced with the decision to join a search operation for a missing teenager she used to babysit.


Filmmaker Ally Pankiw incorporates quintessential indie elements—comedy, light drama, and folk music—while adding a distinctive touch with a non-linear narrative and flashbacks. This storytelling approach allows Sam’s past to gradually reveal itself from the perspective of the present day. Pankiw conveys that the journey to healing is neither straightforward nor bound by a strict timeframe. The film weaves together simplicity and complexity, focusing not on the factual details but on Sam’s pursuit to recover her sense of humor, utilizing comedy as a tool for liberation from the darkest corners of our lives.


Year: 2023
Runtime: 105′
Country: Canada
Direction: Ally Pankiw
Screenplay: Ally Pankiw
Cast: Rachel Sennott, Olga Petsa, Jason Jones
Cinematography: Nina Djacic
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Contact: Surtsey Films

Wins & nominations

2023: SXSW Film Festival