Alamo Drafthouse has hired brand management pro and film festival programmer Christian Parkes to serve as Chief Brand Officer. The Austin-based Drafthouse operates the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas chain, Drafthouse Media, Drafthouse Films, poster company Mondo, annual film festival Fantastic Fest, and the Rolling Roadshow screening series, all of which Parkes will help steer under the overall Drafthouse brand. He should fit right into the Drafthouse culture that co-founder Tim League has cultivated into an expanding genre cinema empire. Parkes has 12 years experience in brand management for Puma, Nike, Levis, and the Nasty Gal apparel line and worked with CEO Sophia Amoruso on her debut book which hit No. 2 on the New York Times Best Seller List. He’s also a co-founder of the world genre film festival Beyond Fest, held in LA in October in partnership with the American Cinematheque.
Google Glass wearers have one fewer place to sport their wearable devices. Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League made his company’s policy official today, announcing that the cinema chain will ban use of Google Glass once house lights dim and trailers begin. The issue of allowing Google Glass wearers to use the head-mounted gadgets in movies made headlines earlier this year when a Columbus, Ohio man was interrogated for wearing his Glass in an AMC theater screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Drafthouse Cinemas, which operates theaters in Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, and New York and is expanding to California, waited to take an official stance until Google Glass users began bringing the devices into their locations.
“We’ve been talking about this potential ban for over a year,” League told Deadline. “Google Glass did some early demos here in Austin and I tried them out personally. At that time, I recognized the potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas. I decided to put off a decision until we started seeing them in the theater, and that started happening this month.” The move makes Google Glass the latest addition to the Drafthouse Cinemas black list which already includes movie talkers, texters, and Madonna.
Despite the tepid expectations going into Cannes, the festival turned out to be prolific with deals. In the latest, Drafthouse Films acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Cedric Jimenez’s period crime thriller La French, starring Jean Dujardin. This was a pre-buy based on an eight minute sizzle reel shown at Cannes. The buzz on that reel also got Jimenez signed by WME. It’s the first collaboration between Gaumont and Drafthouse Films. Alain Goldman and Legende Films produced the pic and Dujardin stars with Gilles Lellouche. Gaumont International head Cecile Gaget and Yohann Comte brokered the deal with Drafthouse’s James Shapiro and Tim League.
La French takes place in the late 1970s in Marseille and is based on the true story of the judge who tried to stop the French Connection, one of the most powerful drug organizations of its time. The film spans Marseille, which was the world capital of drug trafficking and the main supplier of heroin in the U.S., and NYC.
“One of our goals is to get young audiences excited about foreign language film,” says Drafthouse Films founder and CEO Tim League. “We combed the market and devoured the official selections. Nothing excited us more than La French.”
La French was shot on 35mm and will be screened theatrically in select venues in 35mm along with a collection of vintage 35mm classic crime trailers curated by Cedric Jimenez. Drafthouse Films also plans a limited edition VHS release …
With all the marketing Paramount did for Anchorman 2 in the months leading up its release, you might feel like you’ve already seen it 10 times. But this just in to the newsroom: Folks in select cities who just can’t get enough of Ron Burgundy and the GNN team can tune in as often as they want for 15 bucks, starting New Year’s Day. The studio and Alamo Drafthouse have unveiled the Anchorfan Pass, which lets fans into unlimited showings of the sequel during its run. The offer is good at participating Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas; Denver; Kansas City, MO; Kalamazoo, MI; Winchester and Ashburn, VA; and Yonkers, NY. The pic starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell has pulled in more than $83 million domestically since opening December 18.
OSCARS: Drafthouse Films Embracing Risks – And Hoping For Change – With Genocide Documentary ‘The Act Of Killing’
Specialty distributor Drafthouse Films opened shop in 2010 and scored a surprise Oscar nomination with its third release, the Belgian Best Foreign Pic contender Bullhead. Now Drafthouse is back in the awards game with Joshua Oppenheimer’s startling Indonesian genocide documentary The Act Of Killing, a provocative pic backed by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris that has already racked up dozens of awards and made the Oscar documentary shortlist in a notably competitive year for nonfiction. Oppenheimer’s film profiles the celebrated death squad leaders responsible for mass murders in 1960s Indonesia as they flamboyantly re-stage their crimes for the camera in Hollywood-style re-enactments — and, in one killer’s case, start to grasp the severity of their actions. The film’s brutal themes required such a careful touch that Drafthouse’s considered awards approach began the moment they won a hard-fought bidding war for the film. But how do you market a film with protagonists like these and win over traditional-minded Academy voters with such a non-traditional message?
Oppenheimer’s film leaves the moralizing to the audience, but it has not for nothing earned a rep as one of the more unsettling Oscar hopefuls in recent memory.
If the Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse Theater chain was making traffic laws, nobody would text and drive. They’ve banned for life none other than Madonna after she was allegedly caught texting through the NYFF premiere of 12 Years A Slave. Madonna was reportedly texting away like a teenager on her BlackBerry through the movie’s first half. When asked to stop, she struck back in a manner that indicated she was at least paying some attention to the film: “It’s for business… ENSLAVER!” Now, it’s annoying to sit in a darkened theater with talkers and texters and email-checkers who take you out of the theater experience. It’s kind of cool for Alamo Drafthouse to make this stand, even if it is the dictionary definition of a publicity stunt; Madonna was at NYFF, which isn’t going to ban her, and chances are she probably never even heard of Alamo Drafthouse. But it does bring up an interesting point: How should theaters punish those egregiously self-important people whose texting is almost as obnoxious as taking a phone call in the middle of a movie and not nearly as charming as shouting at the screen during a scary film?
Drafthouse CEO Tim League has been waging a one-man battle against movie theater texting and talking (his no-talking PSA pulled from an …