Producer Keith Kjarval founded Unified Pictures, along with Kurt Rauer, in 2005 and immediately formed a studio that develops, produces, and finances independent features. Unified are committed to producing thought provoking live action film as well as CG animated features.
Kjarval kicked off Unified’s inaugural year with the acquisition and distribution of the multiple di Donatello (Italian Oscar) award-winning film Don’t Move (starring Penélope Cruz).
Kjarval then launched production on his debut film, The Perfect Sleep. Combining the moody visual splendor of film noir with the psychological depth and intensity of a Dostoyevsky novel, Sleep was hailed by Time Out New York as “a marvel of budget-stretching innovation” and a “cross between Zentropa and Memento without the pretentiousness.”
2008 was another busy year for Kjarval and Unified as they produced two films and launched a foreign sales arm headed by indie veteran Ann Dubinet. Most notably, Unified struck a strategic alliance with David Lynch’s company, Absurda, to handle the foreign sales of its impressive library, including the acclaimed Lynch/Herzog collaboration My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.
Also in 2009, Kjarval produced David Rosenthal’s touching film Janie Jones, about a washed-up rock star forced to take responsibility for the daughter he never knew he had. The film, which stars Abigail Breslin, Elisabeth Shue, and Alessandro Nivola, received the honor of being selected as a Gala Presentation at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, where it received its world premiere.
Kjarval went onto a slate of films for Unified which included the thriller A Single Shot, which premiered at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival as well as the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film stars Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright,Melissa Leo, and William H. Macy. In that same slate, Kjarval produced the touching drama Decoding Annie Parker, which stars Samantha Morton, Helen Hunt, Rashida Jones, Aaron Paul, and Alice Eve. Kjarval rounded out the slate with the inspirational film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete directed by acclaimed filmmaker George Tillman Jr. and starring Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Jeffrey Wright, and Anthony Mackie.
Immediately following Mister and Pete, Kjarval produced the dark comedy Trust Me, directed by Clark Gregg and starring Gregg, Sam Rockwell, William H Macy, Amanda Peet, and Allison Janney. Next on Unified’s slate, Kjarval produced William H Macy’s directorial debut Rudderless, which stars Macy, Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Laurence Fishburne, and Selena Gomez.
After closing Sundance with Rudderless, Kjarval sold the film to Paramount and started a new slate of films starting with the comedy Welcome to Me, which Kjarval Executive Produced and starred Kristin Wiig and was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Kjarval then developed and produced the dark comedy The Driftless Area starring John Hawkes, Zooey Deschanel, Aubrey Plaza, Frank Langella, and Anton Yelchin. The two most recent films in Unified and Kjarval’s slate are the intense crime drama Vincent-N-Roxxy starring Emile Hirsch and Zoë Kravitz, which was created by Kjarval and long time collaborator Gary Schultz. Kjarval’s most recent film is William H Macy’s second directorial effort The Layover a comedy starring Alexandra Daddario and Kate Upton.
On the animation side of Unified, Kjarval is currently in production on a $35 million animated feature, Noah’s Ark, created by Kjarval and written by Philip LaZebnik (Prince of Egypt, Mulan, and Pocahontas) directed and produced by John Stevenson. (Kung Fu Panda, Shrek).