Alamo Drafthouse Launches Distribution Arm; First Film Will Be Terrorist-Comedy FOUR LIONS

     September 9, 2010

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The great Austin, Texas movie theater The Alamo Drafthouse is getting into the distribution game.  In a press release, Alamo Drafthouse CEO and Founder Tim League announced he is launching Drafthouse Films and the first film to be released under its banner will be Chris Morris’ Four Lions.  The controversial comedy centers on wannabe-jihadists in UK.

Four Lions will begin a 10-city promotional tour with Morris in attendance beginning in mid-October.  The film will be released in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin this fall and expand over the following weeks.  Hit the jump for the press release and an official synopsis for Four Lions.

four_lions_movie_poster_01Here’s the press release:

DRAFTHOUSE FILMS TO DISTRIBUTE “FOUR LIONS”, THE ACCLAIMED COMEDY FROM DIRECTOR CHRIS MORRIS

Austin, TX—Thursday, September 9, 2010— Alamo Drafthouse CEO and Founder Tim League announced today that he is expanding the renowned Alamo Drafthouse brand into film distribution under the banner Drafthouse Films (www.drafthousefilms.com).  The first film to release under the new label will be Chris Morris’s astonishing new comedy Four Lions.

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.

And here’s the official synopsis for Four Lions:

Chris Morris’ Four Lions is a funny, thrilling comedy that illuminates modern jihadism through the prism of farce. It understands jihadists as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous.

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.

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