One of my absolute favorite films of Fantastic Fest last year was I Declare War, about which I said:
“At first glance the film reads as merely an excuse to have some fun, violent action with kids shooting each other up and tossing out plentiful F-bombs –all of which happen with glorious frequency– except it doesn’t take long for the film to start going deeper, doing more. This a film with things to say and show about what it means to be unpopular, to be weird, to be growing up, to be jealous, to be angry, and to start realizing that the world as you’ve always seen it might not be the same for much longer. Add that thematic depth to a perfectly tuned execution of the playtime war concept and you have what I would consider close to the best child combat movie ever.”
So with that I’m happy to say the film has landed distribution, and from a company that I’ve long held a hunch was going to step up: Drafthouse Films.
Now to be honest, I’ve only been impressed by Drafthouse’s distribution so far because they’ve taken true underdog films (The FP, Miami Connection) and given them much more of a life than they would ever have otherwise seen. In the case of I Declare War however, I personally saw a film that has a very bright future. It’s no four-quadrant blockbuster, but it’s a damn entertaining, extremely marketable film that could bring in a relatively big audience if word gets out there. I can only hope Drafthouse doesn’t just screen this in their own theaters and then push it to VOD and Home Video. My fingers are crossed that most major markets will get a chance to see this one before it does the rounds online.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for the plans, and you should too.
DRAFTHOUSE FILMS CAPTURES
“I DECLARE WAR”
Fantastic Fest 2012 Audience Award Winner
Storms Theaters & VOD Platforms This Year
AUSTIN, TX – Wednesday, January 30, 2013 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced their acquisition of US rights to 2012 Toronto International Film Festival favorite and Fantastic Fest Audience Award winner I Declare War, directed by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson. Produced by Lewin Webb, Robert Wilson and Patrick Cameron from SamaritanEntertainment, the film centers on an epic game of capture-the-flag. In their quest for victory, a group of adolescents pushes beyond the game and the boundaries of friendship into an adventure where fantasy blurs with reality. A VOD and theatrical campaign is planned for the second half of 2013.
Directors Lapeyre and Wilson set out to construct an action film from the darker side of a 13-year-old’s mindset, while also examining sincere conflicts of enduring friendship. Using the kids’ overactive imaginations, a neighborhood forest setting becomes a full-fledged woodland battlefield: sticks transform into guns, water balloons into grenades and eyeballs can shoot lasers. Charles Webb of MTV Geekhas praised the film for “vividly capturing a point in time as a kid where everything was important, even the imaginary things.”
“Not since Stand By Me have we experienced such a poignant and sincere film about kids for adults,” says Drafthouse Films CEO/Founder Tim League, “Armed with an arsenal of extremely talented child actors and combining shades of Full Metal Jacket and Lord Of The Flies, Jason and Rob have created a one-of-a-kind action film that we couldn’t be more excited to handle in the US.”
Producer Lewin Webb noted, “We are thrilled that Drafthouse Films have picked up I Declare War and a wide US audience is going to have the opportunity to see it. We are proud to be part of the Drafthouse Family of films.”
“Drafthouse Films is our ideal partner for I Declare War in the US. From Fantastic Fest on, they have been a huge supporter,” says director RobertWilson. “Drafthouse are the most progressive of US based distributors and we know that they will deliver the widest and best audience for the film.”
The deal was negotiated by Drafthouse Films COO James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Andrew Herwitz of Film Sales on behalf of the film’s producers.
I Declare War is available for festival bookings until the 3rd quarter of 2013. Please contact Festival Coordinator Jon Stobezki at firstname.lastname@example.org. For theatrical bookings contact VP of Theatrical Marketing and Distribution Sumyi Antonson at email@example.com.
For more information on I Declare War and Drafthouse Films:
About I DECLARE WAR
A group of 13-year-old friends play an innocent game of Capture the Flag in the neighborhood woods, arming themselves with nothing more than sticks, their imagination and a simple set of rules. One afternoon the game takes on a more serious tone and the quest for victory pushes the boundaries of friendship, giving the would-be warriors a glimpse of the darker side of human nature as their imaginations take them beyond the rules of the game and into an adventure where fantasy blurs with reality.
About Jason Lapeyre: Co-Director & Writer
Jason is an award-winning filmmaker currently living in Toronto. In 2011 he made three feature films. His gritty crime thriller Cold Blooded won Best Canadian Feature Film at Fantasia. In addition to I Declare War, he directed a documentary about mental illness called Faceless. He also found time to produce a short film called The Captured Bird, which is executive produced by Guillermo del Toro. He has directed music videos, short films and short documentaries that have played in over 25 film festivals across the world and been broadcast in Canada and the UK. He is also a regular contributor to the magazines Wax Poetics and Rue Morgue on the subjects of music and film.
About Rob Wilson: Co-Director & Producer
Rob is an experienced film, television and music video director, writer and producer. As the co-owner of 235Films Inc., Canada’s most successful producer of music video and related content, he has been responsible for the creative development and physical production of countless videos for innumerable international and Canadian performers. Wilson has also produced and directed numerous independent films and made for TV movies including the critically acclaimed cult horror film Dead Mary with Dominique Swain (Lolita, Face/Off) and Warriors of Terra. Rob recently completed photography on You Bury Your Own with Mykelti Williams (Forrest Gump) and John Glover (“Smallville”), which he both wrote and directed. You Bury Your Own won Best Feature at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. He currently leads Samaritan Entertainment’s creative development operations.