Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is set at a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf, and its depiction of disenchanted youth features a cast of non-professional, deaf actors. The pic’s narrative unfolds purely through sign language without subtitles, music or voice-over. It won three honors this year in the Cannes sidebar. Drafthouse Films plans a theatrical and digital rollout sometime in 2015.
In the pic, a boy enters a specialized boarding school for the deaf. Alone in this new and unfamiliar place, he must find his way through the school’s hierarchy. Sergey quickly encounters the tribe, a student gang dealing in crime and prostitution. After passing their hazing rituals and being inducted into the group, he takes part in several robberies and begins to work his way up the chain of command to become pimp-protector for two of the girls, who turn tricks at the local truck stop. Finding himself in love with one of them, he ultimately breaks all the unwritten rules of the tribe, with tragic consequences.
The deal was negotiated by Virginie Devesa and Keiko Funato from Alpha Violet and James Emanuel Shapiro and CEO Tim League from Drafthouse.
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. Read More »
Drafthouse Films‘ Evan Husney is stepping down from his post as Creative Director after nearly three years at the upstart distribution label. New York-based Husney, 27, will be shifting focus to producing and is working with directors Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun) and Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm) on their next features. Husney helped develop the specialty distro arm of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas from the ground up when company founder Tim League tapped him to run creative ops in 2011. Shortly thereafter Drafthouse Films scored an Academy Award nomination with one of its first acquisitions, director Michaël R. Roskam’s Belgian drama Bullhead, which vied for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Oscars. Last year Husney and the Drafthouse team mounted their second Oscar campaign in three years for Best Documentary nominee The Act of Killing, director Josh Oppenheimer’s critically-acclaimed documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders.
Related: Drafthouse Films Embracing Risks With Genocide Doc ‘Act Of Killing’
Since its inception the label has acquired a variety of specialty releases spanning genre, action, drama, comedy, foreign, and repertory titles, plucking often-challenging fare from the lineups of Austin’s Fantastic Fest (which League founded) and SXSW. “When [Drafthouse Films] started we wanted to acquire movies we loved and films we thought are great, utilize our backgrounds as programmers and approach distribution with a curatorial quality – a real cinephiles for cinephiles label,” Husney told me. Read More »
Drafthouse Films has acquired docu The Overnighters, about a small North Dakota town overrun by workers during a local oil boom and the pastor who opens his arms to the “overnighters” to mounting controversy. Director Jesse Moss filmed as a one-man camera crew for 18 months on the pic which went on to win the Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival and is set to screen at Tribeca next month. Drafthouse locked down North American theatrical, home video, transactional and other rights and is planning a late 2014 theatrical release with a portion of the proceeds going to local affordable housing charities. The Overnighters is produced by Moss, Amanda McBaine, and Mlle End Films Production in association with Al Di La Films and Impact Partners. Drafthouse’s James Emanuel Shapiro negotiated the deal with Andrew Herwitz at Film Sales Company and CAA on behalf of the producers.
Here’s the official trailer for Drafthouse Films‘ latest docu acquisition The Final Member, about an American, an aging Icelander, and the proprietor of the only “phallological museum” in the world, whose lives intertwine in a quest for immortality as one man attempts to complete his penis exhibit with one last specimen. The Fantastic Fest title is the latest envelope-pushing docu pickup for Drafthouse which has The Act of Killing gunning for an Oscar. The stranger than fiction Final Member, directed by Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math, hits theaters April 18:
Related: Drafthouse Films Grabs Penis Docu ‘The Final Member’
Drafthouse Films has picked up North American rights to 20,000 Days On Earth, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s docu-drama film centered around musician Nick Cave. The Bad Seed stars in the film which tracks a fictional day in Cave’s creative life, based on his own process writing the 2013 album “Push the Sky Away.” Pic’s title refers to how many days Cave had been living by the time he began recording the album. 20,000 Days On Earth features an original score by Cave and Warren Ellis and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it snagged Best Directing and Best Editing awards. It next screens at Berlin. The Pulse Films and JW Films production is produced by James Wilson and Dan Bowen with support from Film4, Corniche Pictures, and the BFI. Drafthouse Films is plotting a 2014 theatrical release. Drafthouse’s Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro negotiated the deal with Hanway Films’ Thorsten Schumacher on behalf of the filmmakers.
The total for the Oscar-nominated documentary is three times bigger than the audience it has reached on YouTube, BitTorrent says in a blog post. The firm launched its bundle on December 31, in collaboration with Drafthouse Films. The Act Of Killing profiles the death squad leaders who committed mass murders in Indonesia in the 1960s. Some re-enact their murders for the camera, which leads at least one to start to come to terms with the severity of the crimes. In addition to the film, the BitTorrent package includes interviews, essays, and stills from director Joshua Oppenheimer, and executive producers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris as well as TEMPO Magazine‘s account of the film’s impact on Indonesia. Drafthouse plans to return the film to theaters on February 7.
Related: OSCARS: Drafthouse Embracing Risks With ‘The Act Of Killing’
Drafthouse Films has acquired U.S. rights to Michel Gondry‘s latest feature film Mood Indigo, an adaptation of the Boris Vian novel that stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris. A platform release is planned for this year. The love story set in a surreal Paris centers on two newlyweds who must deal with her unusual illness: a flower begins to grow in her lungs. Omar Sy, Aissa Maiga and Gad Elmaleh co-star. The pic’s U.S. debut came at during September’s Fantastic Fest when Gondry showed a shorter cut of the pic crafted for international audiences; the movie opened in France in April. The deal was negotiated by Drafthouse’s James Emanuel Shapiro and Studiocanal SVP International Sales Vanessa Saal.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Mood Indigo’
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?
Related: Specialty B.O.: ‘Act Of Killing’ Is Year’s Top Documentary Debut
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. Read More »
Drafthouse Films has acquired North American rights to Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math’s penis-themed documentary The Final Member, adding to its lineup of boundary-pushing films (Bullhead, The Act Of Killing). I saw The Final Member last year at Fantastic Fest, where the Alamo Drafthouse kitchen cheekily served deep-fried veal testicles during a particularly squirmy part of the film. Memorable experience to say the least. The Final Member tracks Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson, founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, who has dedicated his life to collecting and displaying the male organ from every mammal on Earth. The only gap in his collection: a human specimen. Enter two prospective donors, one an elderly Icelandic lothario, the other an American obsessed with making his genitalia a star. As the aging Siggi feels the clock ticking to complete his life’s work, the contest for that coveted final slot takes bizarre and unexpected turns. It’s a sweet, stranger-than-fiction tale that’s also primed for a narrative remake, if any studio had the balls to make a movie about, well, you know. Drafthouse’s James Emanuel Shapiro negotiated the deal with Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the film’s producers. Drafthouse is plotting a 2014 theatrical and VOD release, partnering on digital with VHX. (You’ll have to provide your own in-theater snacks.)
Drafthouse Films reached back into the vaults to snap up rights to the 1981 revenge thriller Ms. 45, the second film directed by Abel Ferrara after his 1979 horror pic The Driller Killer. The rape and revenge flick follows a mute garment district seamstress (Zoë Lund) who suffers a string of sexual assaults that transform her into a one-woman homicidal angel of vengeance targeting the city’s male population. Ms. 45 bombed upon initial release but subsequently built a cult following, and the vision of Lund packing a pistol in a nun’s habit in the film’s bloody Halloween night scene became an iconic moment in exploitation cinema. (Lund later co-scripted the career-defining Bad Lieutenant for Ferrara.) Drafthouse Films will release Ms. 45 to theaters in a new HD remastering in December accompanied by an uncut DVD and Blu-ray release for the first time in North America. UK specialty label Death Waltz Records will also release the Ms. 45 soundtrack for the first time ever. Drafthouse’s Evan Husney and James Emanuel Shapiro negotiated the deal with David Kravis of Coastline Licensing International, Inc.
Drafthouse Films has picked up North American rights to Hitoshi Matsumoto’s R100, which had its world premiere at the Midnight Madness section of this month’s Toronto Film Festival. The plan is for a VOD/digital and theatrical release next year. Its U.S. premiere came over the weekend at Fantastic Fest in Austin –the backyard of Drafthouse parent Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — where it got a strong reception. The comedy centers on a lonely everyman who hires a boutique S&M agency that specialize in random acts of extreme public degradation. Needless to say a bizarre accident changes the terms of his contract and sends him into a spiral. The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions on behalf for producers.
Related: Magnet Nabs U.S. Rights To ‘Grand Piano’
EXCLUSIVE: Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning The Act of Killing garnered wide acclaim and the year’s best nonfiction debut this summer. But the filmmakers believe the docu, in which ex-death squad leaders of the 1965-1966 Indonesian genocide reenact their own atrocities for the camera, can’t have a traditional release in the country where said mass murderers are still celebrated as national heroes. So the film’s most significant release will come in September when Drafthouse Films, VICE, and VHX open the pic in Indonesia – for free.
Related: ‘The Act Of Killing’ Intrigues As It Nears UK, U.S. Release: Video
The 1965 genocide that killed an estimated 500K to 1 million accused leftists, intellectuals, and ethnic Chinese is rarely talked about in the country and isn’t taught in history books. It’s so sensitive within Indonesia that the 60+ Indonesian crew members on The Act Of Killing are credited as “Anonymous” for fear of retribution. Filmmakers fear that, if submitted to the government-run film board, the docu would likely be banned and subsequent screenings would invite violent attacks by paramilitary groups. Instead, Drafthouse, VICE, Signe Byrge Sørensen’s Final Cut for Real ApS, and VHX will release Act of Killing within Indonesia on September 30 via www.actofkilling.com, where local viewers can download the 159-minute directors cut for free from a site exclusively geo-blocked for Indonesia. Read More »
Drafthouse Films has acquired North American rights to Japanese director Sion Sono‘s (Suicide Club, Love Exposure) Why Don’t You Play In Hell? Described by Sono as “an action film about the love of 35mm,” and based on a screenplay he wrote nearly 15 years ago, the film follows the collusion of an amateur production crew and a yakuza boss as they attempt to make a movie amidst the decade-long war between two rival crime lords. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? will make its World Premiere at the upcoming Venice International Film Festival and its North American premiere at Toronto in the ‘Midnight Madness’ section. A VOD/Digital and theatrical release is planned for 2014.
Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act Of Killing, about a group of Indonesian men who revisit and re-enact assassinations they committed after the military coup of 1965, made waves at both Telluride and Toronto in 2012. Earlier this year, it won the best documentary prize in the Panorama section of Berlin as well as the Ecumenical Jury prize. Drafthouse Films acquired the pic in October and will release it Stateside on July 19. It goes out in the UK next week, followed by a director’s tour with an extended cut. Ahead of that, it screens on Saturday in London as part of the Open City Docs Fest. The film, one of the most talked-about documentaries of the year, is a Danish/Norwegian/British co-production. Per Drafthouse’s synopsis, when the government of Indonesia was overthrown, Anwar Congo and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters, who sold movie theater tickets on the black market, to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. Today, Congo is revered as a founding father of a right-wing paramilitary organization that grew out of the death squads, but neither he nor his cohorts have been forced to admit they participated in crimes against humanity. The filmmakers asked Congo and the others to re-create their memories, which they do by filming their own movie within the doc, … Read More »
Drafthouse Films has added another curio to their eclectic slate. They’ve unearthed 1979′s The Visitor, a phantasmagorical sci-fi oddity starring Lance Henriksen, Mel Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Franco Nero, and iconic film directors John Huston and Sam Peckinpah in the tale of an alien Christ figure battling a demonic 8-year-old girl and her pet hawk for the fate of the universe. One of the crop of Hollywood knockoffs that proliferated in Italian cinema in the 1970s and ’80s, the Italy/US co-production from producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and bodybuilder-turned-director Michael J. Paradise mashes elements of The Omen, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and Star Wars in what Drafthouse Creative Director Evan Husney describes as “joyfully delirious” experience. The Austin-based distributor has plans for a theatrical, home video and VOD/digital release later in the year from an HD restoration of the film. The bizarre pic has been a must-see on the late night circuit for genre devotees for years. COO James Emanuel Shapiro negotiated the deal on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Fabrizio Giona on behalf of the film’s rights holder, producer Ovidio G. Assonitis.
Drafthouse Films has picked up North American rights in a deal with Films We Like to the sci-fi pic The Congress which opened the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar last month at Cannes. Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) directs the film starring Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel. A US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014 and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution. Based on legendary science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, Folman’s adaptation blends live-action and psychedelic animation as an aging, out-of-work actress (Wright in an unusual role playing an alternate reality version of herself) accepts her final job: preserving her digital image for a future Hollywood. Twenty years later, Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom and is invited to take part in “The Congress” as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema. The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Brigitte Suárez and Michael Weber of The Match Factory on behalf of the film’s producers.
Borgman was the first Dutch film in the Cannes Film Festival‘s competition lineup in almost 40 years when the Dutch thriller from director Alex van Warmerdam hit the Croisette earlier this month. Now Drafthouse Films has picked up North American rights in a deal with Fortissimo Films, with a U.S. theatrical and VOD/digital release planned for 2014. Films We Like will handle Canadian distribution.
Borgman is an allegorical tale exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places. A vagrant enters the lives of a typical but arrogant upper-class family, igniting a descent from darkly comic dream to maddening psychological nightmare. Annet Malherbe and Eva van de Wijdeven, two regulars in van Warmerdam’s films, stars along with Jan Bijvoet. Graniet Film (Netherlands) produced.
“Maybe once a year, I am deluged after a premiere with texts and emails to the effect of ‘this is such a Drafthouse movie,’” says Drafthouse Films founder and CEO Tim League, “Its strange, disturbing, hysterical and utterly unique. Borgman is the quintessential Drafthouse film of Cannes. We can’t wait to share it with audiences in North America.” Read More »