Back to IndieWire

Drafthouse Films Picks Up Provocative Sundance Doc ‘The Ambassador’

Drafthouse Films Picks Up Provocative Sundance Doc 'The Ambassador'

Drafthouse Films, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s distribution arm, announced today that they have acquired Mads Brügger’s Sundance hit “The Ambassador,” the follow-up to his Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “The Red Chapel.” Drafthouse will release the film theatricallly in at least three cities in late August and will also release the film on VOD and digital platforms on August 4.

In “The Ambassador,” Brügger exposes corruption in the Central African Republic when he gets a fake diplomatic visa and happens upon some very shady international business dealings.

Check out our own Peter Knegt’s interview with Brügger about the film here.

The press release is reprinted below:

Controversial Sundance Hit Innovates New Documentary Genre “Performative Journalism” with Hilarious & Shocking Results

AUSTIN, TX – Monday, July 9th 2011 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the world-famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced their acquisition of The Ambassador, a darkly comic, genre-bending documentary that exposes the corrupt business of selling diplomatic titles to exploit the lucrative and limited resources of war torn, third world nations. Filmmaker/journalist/provocateur Mads Brügger (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for Red Chapel) uses humor in his jaw-dropping descent into one of the most dangerous places on the planet: Central African Republic.  From each absurdly terrifying and hilarious situation to the next, The Ambassador is a one-of-a-kind excursion from the man whom The Huffington Post has called “the most provocative filmmaker in the world.”  The Ambassador is scheduled to launch on VOD and digital platforms August 4th and theatrically in New York City (IFC Center) on August 29th, Los Angeles (The Cinefamily) and Austin (Alamo Drafthouse locations) on August 31st.

Financed by filmmaker Lars Von Trier’s production company Zentropa (Melancholia, Klown) to expose the violence, greed and corruption of foreign businessman in the Central African Republic, Brügger developed a new documentary style that he calls “performative journalism,” in which he creates an absurd caricature of a corrupt diplomat and arms himself with a phalanx of hidden cameras, black-market credentials and razor-sharp wit.  It’s part performance art, part investigative journalism, producing humor, shocking revelations and above all a tragic picture of a failed and corrupt state.

Brügger, who experienced blood diamond smuggling, bribery and murder, said, ”I want to show an Africa stripped of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), Bono, child soldiers and kids with bloated bellies, to show the kind of people you never see in the documentaries: white businessmen and diplomats, the fat cats in the urban centers, all the people who are in post-colonial Francafrique (French Africa) having a great time.  To show this Africa of the affluent I use “performative journalism” – instead of disguising as a fly on the wall observing neutrally, I dress for my part and interact as an agent provocateur. With all the intentions of a journalist to disclose an unnoticed world I went to Central African Republic as a rich white business man with diplomatic credentials pursuing all the perks that follows this title (reckless diamond hunt, practicing power misuse etc.), and became a respected member of their society.”

“The Ambassador is the kind of exciting and provocative work from a fearless visionary that is an exact DNA match for our brand,” says Drafthouse Films Director of Acquisitions Evan Husney, “and from his jaw-dropping stunts in Northern Korea as seen in Red Chapel to the hostile blood diamond mines in central Africa, Brügger is this generation’s foremost gonzo journalist.”

The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro of Drafthouse Films and Susan Wendt of Trustnordisk on behalf of the film’s producers at Zentropa.

The Ambassador is available for additional theatrical bookings. Please contact evan.husney@drafthouse.com.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox