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by Bryce J. Renninger
September 3, 2010 7:05 AM
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Distributor Profile: Icarus Films

All information published in the indieWIRE Distributor Profiles is provided by the individual company.

Company History
Icarus Films was established in 1978. We began by releasing films from Iran, including the feature film "The Cycle" by Dariush Mehrjui, and a German documentary that predicted the Iranian revolution that was shortly to arrive, "The Temptation of Power." Over the following years our collection expanded into many other areas (issues, forms, markets), and we survived the transitions of 16mm film > video > DVD > ?

In 2008 we launched our own home video/ DVD consumer line, Icarus Films Home Video, and in 2009 we acquired the Fanlight Productions collection of health care related films. Today Icarus Films distributes approximately 1000 titles to theatrical, nontheatrical, educational, home entertainment, internet and television markets throughout North America.


Company Focus

Types of films in distributor’s slate:
Our emphasis has always been on independent productions, political and international issues, recovering lost histories, provoking thought and contemplation about new or alternative ideas. We like films for adults, and have for some time focused almost exclusively on documentaries - which doesn't mean, hopefully, "worthy" (not that there's anything wrong with it). We like what the Europeans call "Creative" documentaries - and place a special regard on the work of e.g. Chris Marker, Peter Watkins, Patricio Guzman, Chantal Akerman, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, and Heddy Honigmann, etc. all of whom we very much value our working relationships with. We like old films (this is something new). We also like funny East European docs (a growing genre) - "Rabbit a la Berlin" from Poland and Germany, which was nominated for an Academy Award this year, and "Disco and Atomic War," from Estonia. Of course we are mostly American (with Capital A), so we also have a fond spot people, communities, ideas, and filmmakers closer to home - we've released Nina Davenport's "Operation Filmmaker" and coming out now on DVD for the first time we are proud to have Peter Davis' epic series from 1982 - "Middletown."

Advice for filmmakers:
Send us some written information about your film, copies of any reviews or background information, and we will let you know if we would like to take a look at it. But first: do yourself a favor - look over our three web sites and do some googling and make sure you know who/what you are talking to.


Quick Stats

Who handles acquisitions:
Jonathan Miller

Number of films released theatrically each year:
3-5 (we released several at the beginning of the year, we have two coming out this fall, and so far one scheduled for Spring, 2011)

Distribution platforms other than theatrical:
In addition to DVD, we also license films for TV, streaming, downloads, etc. We look for the right market(s) for each film, whether a short doc, an hour, a feature, or an epic.

Number of films released exclusively via VOD/DVD or “alternative” means of release:
Exclusively? None. Our marketing and interests are broader than that - because (and it's not just business) we believe a film we release should (otherwise we wouldn't have released it, hopefully) have a real "life," and a long one! - it needs to be seen, thought about, written about, revisited, percolate maybe, be referred to down the road (and we measure our time frame in years, not months). appear in different contexts. we don't let films go "out of print," at least not if we can help it.

Number of films acquired at festivals:
A few. We go to a good four or five festivals or markets every year. And have been over time to most of them. We try and stay out of bidding wars.

Festivals where distributor has acquired films in the last two years:
Hot Docs. IDFA (Amsterdam). Nordic Panorama. CPH:Dox. Next stop: Leipzig.

[For more information, visit the company's website.]

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