With the announcement today that it would be acquiring the lost Australian thriller Wake in Fright, Drafthouse Films has cemented (in my opinion) its claim to be one of the most interesting, fearless and passionate distribution outfits working today. The 1971 film from First Blood director Ted Kotcheff, as championed by Martin Scorsese at Cannes in 2009, will get a limited US release in October and a home video/VOD release in 2013.
A lengthy, personal and highly informed press release announced the acquisition today (which can be read here), and it’s behaviour like this which has endeared them to so many film fans. A loyalty program which rewards subscribers with heavily discounted DVD and Blu-Ray releases? They’re one of a handful of companies doing that. Releasing a documentary history of Cannon Films, an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film nominee, and a 1980s ninja/karate/motorcycle exploitation film in the same month? Nobody else is doing that.
Since the theatrical release of Chris Morris’ fearless satire Four Lions in 2010, Drafthouse has been a promising new player on the fringes of the industry. Their mission statement and ambitious, risky catalogue have kept them a few paces behind, say, Oscilloscope Laboratories, but I truly believe that a few years on this track could have them breaking into the big leagues. To those who haven’t been charmed by one of the many consistently brilliant Drafthouse releases yet, I urge you to check out their roster here.