If you don't live in Austin, however, the Drafthouse mentality may be an abstract mirage; a movie heaven just out of reach. Soon that will be changing. Not only is CEO Tim League planning to expand his theaters around the nation (there are currently five outside of Austin), but today he announced the creation of Drafthouse Films, the official distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse.
The first title to be released under the new Drafthouse Films label will be the critically acclaimed British dark comedy, Four Lions. Beginning in mid-October, Drafthouse Films will start a 10-city screening tour of Chris Morris' film to drum up promotion ahead of its official release, which will expand outward from New York, L.A. and Austin. (Check out Scott Weinberg's Sundance review of Four Lions right here.)
If you ask me this is huge news. Not only is it outstanding that Four Lions will be getting a proper US release, but the whole idea of Drafthouse Films is intoxicating. I don't know what other titles they have on the horizon, but I'll lay down money that film fans will be able to take any of their acquisitions as nothing short of certification of awesomeness. Read on for the full press release.
Four Lions is a whip-smart laugh out loud comedy that illuminates the war on terror through satire and farce. Blitzing the notion that a comedy about jihadists is a contradiction in terms, the film grossed an astounding £3M at the UK box office and was hailed by critics as "a brilliant film – astonishingly funny" causing "so many different kinds of laughter its almost incredible".
Writer director Chris Morris based the idea on extensive research. "These cells have the same group dynamics as bachelor parties and five a side basketball teams. Plans are upset by arguments, egos, testosterone and idiocy. Terrorism is about ideology but it's also about doofuses."
Four Lions has taken the festival circuit by storm. Following its sell-out success as the buzz hit of the Sundance Film Festival, Four Lions packed the coveted closing night slot of South by Southwest, won the Independent Camera Award at Karlovy Vary and was voted Best Narrative Feature by audiences at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
"I've been a huge fan of Chris Morris' comedic television and radio for years. To launch our new distribution label with what I consider to be a modern classic is a dream come true," said Tim League.
Four Lions will kick off a 10 city promotional screening tour with Chris Morris in attendance in mid-October. The film is slated to release this fall in New York, Los Angeles and Austin and will expand wider in the following weeks.
About Four Lions
In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned about the treatment of muslims around the world and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj (Kayvan Novak) has ever heard. Better still it's a no brainer because Omar does his thinking for him. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is the white islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay). He'd realize he joined the cell to channel his nihilism - if he had half the self knowledge of a duck. Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is the odd man out. He can make a bomb – but he can't blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has "started eating newspaper". Instead he's training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with. They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face?
Four Lions plunges us beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away or, even worse, alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. The film is neither pro nor anti religious. The jokes fly out of the characters' conflicts, excesses and mistakes. Crackling with wit and tension, Four Lions is the essential response to our failure to engage with reality and a high toast to the idea that laughter is better than killing.
About Alamo Drafthouse