Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

In an otherwise unremarkable 2013 for specialty releases, Sony Pictures Classics has one of two films that have become mainstays among specialty releases with its multiple Oscar nominee Amour (the other is The Weinstein Company‘s Quartet). The distributor also scored solidly on The Gatekeepers with more than $152K in three theaters for the documentary’s first two weekends. Next up is this weekend’s bow of the Chilean feature simply titled No starring Gael García Bernal, which is also up for an Oscar in the foreign-language film category. IFC Films’ Sundance Select is taking on Iranian-born director Abbas Kiarostami’s latest, Like Someone In Love, hoping to repeat the success it had with his previous film it released Stateside, Certified Copy. IFC Films is doing a limited theatrical along with day and date VOD for doc/narrative hybrid The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, which screened at last year’s SXSW Film Festival. After initially making a narrative, the filmmaking team decided to add material for an unconventional approach.

No
Director-writer Pablo Larraín (screenplay)
Writer: Antonio Skármeta (play)
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

The Chilean film with the simple title, No, refers to the straightforward advertising campaign masterminded by an ad executive to defeat the South American country’s longtime dictator Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 referendum. Starring Mexican-born actor Gael García Bernal, the film was praised at festival showings at Cannes, New York Film Festival and Sundance and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. “We hoped it would be entered by Chile and it was and we hoped it would get nominated and it did,” Michael Barker said from the Berlin International Film Festival. “And we’re relieved it didn’t open last weekend with the big snowstorm.”

Barker praised García Bernal for helping to carry the feature to awards recognition and said, “Anyone who is a Gael García Bernal fan will come to this movie because it is a peak performance in his career. This being the first Chilean film to be nominated is a great achievement. Pablo Larraín directed the film in a style that is very modern but the mature art house crowd will like it too. We have very high hopes”. Sony Classics will bow the film in two theaters each in New York and Los Angeles. It will continue its expansion March 1st, gradually adding markets from there.

Like Someone In Love
Director-writer: Abbas Kiarostami
Cast: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Ryo Kase
Distributor: Sundance Select

Iran-born director Abbas Kiarostami headed to Tokyo for his latest feature centered on the relationship between a young woman and an elderly man. Like Someone In Love screened in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival where Sundance Select picked it up. IFC has a history with Kiarostami, having released his film Certified Copy in 2011, which grossed nearly $1.4 million domestically. As with the new film, Certified Copy “was also released day and date VOD and is now available on DVD through The Criterion Collection,” noted IFC Films’ Ryan Werner. “We hope to continue a successful collaboration with Kiarostami”. Like Someone In Love will open a retrospective of the director’s work at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Kiarostami also traveled to the U.S. for the first time in over a decade to promote the film at the New York Film Festival where it had its U.S. premiere. It also traveled to the Toronto, Chicago, Mill Valley and AFI festivals.

“Like Certified Copy, this is a mysterious work” that audiences will want to discuss after seeing, Werner said. “It’s incredibly beautiful and it’s his first film shot in Japan.” Like Someone In Love will bow at the Walter Reade Theatre and Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York as well as Laemmle’s Royal in Los Angeles this weekend in addition to being available on demand. It will continue its rollout in top markets in weeks to come.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
Director co-writer: Chris James Thompson
Co-writers: Andrew Swant, Joe Riepenhoff
Cast/Subjects: Andrew Swant, Pamela Bass, Jeffrey Jentzen, Pat Kennedy
Distributor: IFC Midnight

Initially conceived as a purely narrative feature recounting the crimes of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, director/writer Chris James Thompson decided to add documentary elements to re-tell not only the story of Dahmer’s string of murders that eventually lead to his arrest in 1991, but also those who were affected by his atrocities, including his neighbors and the police detective assigned to his case. “The project was made over several years,” said producer Jack Turner who came on board the project during the edit. Chris James Thompson “initially wanted it to be a narrative film, but it needed more information to round it out. So the idea was to get three individuals who knew Dahmer, which elevated the material. He wanted to hear how the Dahmer murders affected them and the point is to make the viewer understand that they could have lived next to someone like him.”

Pat Kennedy, who served as the point detective on the case and became familiar with Dahmer during the subsequent investigation, became key in getting other subjects to talk about Dahmer on camera, many of whom had been profoundly affected by their proximity to the killer.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files debuted at last year’s SXSW Film Festival where Submarine represented it for sale. IFC Films saw the film at the event and subsequently picked it up. The distributor will open the film in limited release this weekend as well as On Demand.

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