Alamo Drafthouse to Distribute Jihadist Comedy Four Lions

There’s no question what my favorite theater in the world is — it’s the Alamo Drafthouse. I spend more time in Drafthouse theaters than I do in church. Now it appears you and I will be able to have the Drafthouse experience at home as Tim League, the creator and current CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse, has unveiled a new distribution arm to his company. The first movie they’ll distribute? The amazingly funny Four Lions.

It was recently announced that Tim League, the creator of the original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, was returning to the company he had previously sold the theater chain’s rights to — this time as CEO. League, a genuinely impressive movie fan and all-around nice guy, said he had some serious plans for bringing the theater even more into the national consciousness. Never in my wildest dreams, though, would I have imagined his plans would be this cool.

League’s distribution arm will be named Drafthouse Films. Not much is known about his plans beyond Four Lions but a website for the company is already up at www.drafthousefilms.com.

Four Lions is a great choice to kick off League’s new venture. Travis Leamons and I had a chance to see the film when it played at Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival and the movie has been sitting squarely in my tentative list of favorite films for year ever since.

Directed by Chris Morris, Four Lions is a satire about four British Muslim men who plan to commit acts of terrorism throughout their country. While this may not seem like a particularly funny idea for a movie, I assure you it’s pretty riotous. With the trademark British knack for subdued dark humor, Morris finds ways to make audiences laugh when they should probably be getting very upset.

The film is certainly controversial and I can imagine the film will get a lot of publicity upon its release in America — bringing attention along the way to Tim League and his merry quest for movie dominance.

Here’s the official 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.

About 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.

About Alamo Drafthouse
The Alamo Drafthouse is a lifestyle entertainment brand with an acclaimed cinema-eatery, the largest genre film festival in the United Sates and an online collectible art store. Named “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety. Also regarded as the “Comic Con of film festivals” Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of offbeat cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood Studios. The Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art boutique, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including the launch of Drafthouse Films, a new film distribution label and plans to extend its theaters and unique programming philosophy to additional markets across the United States.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,