By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 7, 2011 at 11:7AM
Variance Films has acquired John Sayles's Philippine-American War film "Amigo," and will release the film with a dual-strategy theatrical release this summer. Tweaking the traditional release platform, "Amigo" will start off in NY and then expand to the Top 20 markets, but for opening weekend its also going to open theatrically in 6-10 theaters in markets with a large population of Filipino-Americans, such as Milpitas, CA.
The full news release is below.
Variance Films acquires theatrical rights to new John Sayles Philippine-American War film, AMIGO
Film to be released in an innovative dual-release strategy on August 20, 2011
New York, February 7, 2011 - Variance Films has acquired all US theatrical rights to AMIGO, the 17th feature film from acclaimed writer-director John Sayles ("Lone Star," "Matewan," "Honeydripper"), it was announced today by Variance's founder, Dylan Marchetti. Variance Films will release the film, starring Chris Cooper, Ronnie Lazaro, Yul Vazquez, and Garret Dillahunt, in an innovative dual-release strategy in conjunction with Anarchist's Convention on August 20, 2011.
AMIGO stars Joel Torre as Rafael Dacanay, a village mayor caught in the murderous cross-fire of the Philippine-American War in 1900. When U.S. troops garrison his village, Rafael comes under pressure to collaborate from the blood-and-guts Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) as he tries not to betray his people, especially his brother Simon (Ronnie Lazaro), head of the local Filipino guerillas. A sympathetic American lieutenant (Garret Dillahunt) learns that "hearts and minds" cannot be won at gunpoint. A devious Spanish friar (Yul Vazquez) thwarts communication with his spiteful intrigues and Rafael is forced to make the near-impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by civilians in an occupied country. Friendship and betrayal, romance, and heart-breaking violence layer the story of AMIGO as a page torn from the forgotten history of imperialism, and is a mirror for today's unresolvable conflicts. AMIGO debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will continue its festival run throughout the spring and summer prior to its theatrical release.
With wide appeal to Filipino-American audiences, as well as traditional US arthouse audiences who have come to look forward to a new John Sayles film, Variance and Anarchist's Convention have devised an innovative dual-release strategy to deliver the film to both audiences simultaneously. Following the July 6, 2011 release in the Philippines, AMIGO will be released on August 20, 2011 to multiple theaters in markets with a large population of Filipino-Americans, such as Milpitas, CA. Simultaneously, the film will release on a single screen in New York City, and will then begin a platformed release in arthouse theaters across the country that will continue throughout Fall 2010.
"I don't know if we've ever found a film that embodies everything Variance is about as well as AMIGO does," said Variance Films founder Dylan Marchetti. "It plays to nearly all of our strengths, from our grassroots marketing skills to our ability to reach Asian American audiences across the country. AMIGO is a film that not only shines light on a darker corner of American history, but entertains while it educates - it's a John Sayles film, after all. Besides, what could be better than working with one of your favorite directors?"
"Some of what we've always tried to do is to change with the times without compromising the films we make," said Maggie Renzi, producer of AMIGO (and almost all of John Sayles' other films). "With Variance we have the opportunity to market directly to the Filipino audience which has already shown its enthusiasm for AMIGO: it's about them. At the same time, we may have made another 'Matewan,' a colorful mini-history, and we hope that will capture the attention of the loyal John Sayles fans. With this dual release, we have the ability to serve both audiences."
AMIGO is written, edited, and directed by John Sayles, stars Chris Cooper, Garret Dillahunt, Ronnie Lazaro, Rio Locsin, DJ Qualls, Bembol Roco, and Joel Torre, features music by Mason Daring , and was produced by Maggie Renzi.