By Liza Foreman | Thompson on Hollywood November 4, 2011 at 9:00AM
Indie player Drafthouse Films, led by Austin-based exhibitor Tim League, is in expansion mode. The company has announced a number of international acquisitions, an exclusive U.S. distribution deal with the licensing and distribution company, Image Entertainment, Inc., and appointed a new COO.
Set to strengthen its position in the distribution arena, Drafthouse’s deal with Image covers home video, digital, television and VOD. Drafthouse Films will release both new product and repertory titles as part of the deal with the Los Angeles-based company.
Drafthouse has also acquired two European titles for U.S. distribution, Bullhead, Belgium’s 2012 Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Danish comedy Clown. Drafthouse is continuing to build a track record with foreign releases, which began with the British film Four Lions last year.
“The Image agreement is a major strategic alliance for the company and will help boost our business tremendously. We are also really excited about the film acquisitions of two exceptional movies,” said Drafthouse director, Evan Husney, who was in Los Angeles attending the AFM.
Drafthouse has also appointed James Emanuel Shapiro, the former executive director of sales planning and acquisitions for Anchor Bay Entertainment, as its new chief operating officer. Shapiro helped build Anchor Bay Films into a full service independent distribution company. He oversaw home video releases on titles including Paul Solet’s Grace, Raymond De Felitta’s City Island and The Weinstein Company releases Let Me In, Blue Valentine and The King’s Speech.
Michael Roskam’s directorial debut, Bullhead follows a cattle farmer chasing his demons. The film played at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, among others.
Mikkel Nøgaard’s Clown is a Danish comedy, which follows two unlikely friends as they run wild through the Danish countryside breaking social taboos and doing unspeakable things.
Drafthouse will release the films in 2012, alongside the SXSW 2011 hit The FP and the 3D restoration of the 1980’s film, Comin’ at Ya! Drafthouse is also in production with Magnolia Pictures and Timpson Films on “The ABCs of Death,” an anthology film by 26 different directors. The company is a subsidiary of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse, a lifestyle and entertainment entity whose interests span theatrical exhibition and festivals. Other Alamo Drafthouse brands include Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas; Mondo, a collectible art boutique; Fantastic Fest, which is the largest international genre film festival in the U.S.; and the pop culture website Badass Digest.