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Drafthouse Films acquires rights to 2 films, signs distribution deal, hires COO

Gary Dinges

Austinites already know and love Alamo Drafthouse.

Now the locally based theater chain is working to raise its profile nationally — and internationally.

Alamo's Drafthouse Films division announced Friday that it has acquired rights to a pair of critically acclaimed films, signed an exclusive distribution deal and hired a new chief operating officer.

It is teaming with Chatsworth, Calif.-based Image Entertainment Inc. to distribute new and rereleased independent films across North America via a variety of services, including home video and video-on-demand.

"We're thrilled at being part of Alamo's expansion," said Mark Ward, Image's vice president of acquisitions. "It's going to be a pleasure working with them, releasing products fans will really enjoy."

Upcoming offerings include two newly acquired films, "Bullhead" and "Clown."

"Bullhead," a crime drama that focuses on a Belgian cattle farmer, screened at Austin's Fantastic Fest this year, as well as several other film festivals worldwide.

It has been selected as Belgium's entry in the 2012 Oscar competition for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Clown" follows two friends as they traverse the Danish countryside.

"We are ecstatic about adding 'Bullhead' and 'Clown' to our growing lineup of films," said Tim League, Alamo's founder.

"They perfectly embody the bold and diverse slate that we plan to release under Drafthouse Films, and Image Entertainment is the perfect partner to help us get the broadest possible reach for them."

Other movies Drafthouse plans to release in 2012 include "The FP," which screened at South by Southwest this year, and a 3-D version of "Comin' at Ya!" — a cult favorite first released in 1981.

A newly hired chief operating officer, James Emanuel Shapiro, will help guide Drafthouse Films' efforts.

Shapiro arrives from Anchor Bay Entertainment, where he led acquisitions and sales planning efforts, overseeing video releases of AMC's "The Walking Dead," Starz's "Spartacus" and more.; 912-5987