Lynch set to self-release 'Empire'

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NEW YORK -- David Lynch has sworn off movie studios forever. "A conventional distributor is a heartache, and I'm finished with that," the director said as he unveiled plans to release his psychodrama "Inland Empire" through his distribution company Absurda and 518 Media in December.

Lynch will embark on a 10-city theater tour to promote the film in January. With a cow. "I ate a lot of cheese during the film, and it made me happy," he explains. The tour, which had its first preview at the film's AFI Fest screening last week, also will serve as an Oscar campaign for star/co-producer Laura Dern. "I'm hoping the Academy members will be sick of 10 million trade ads and appreciate something a bit different," he said. Pianist Marek Zebrowski will accompany the director and play music featured in the film, which Lynch describes as "Polish night music."

"Empire," which features Dern as at least three characters and has different plotlines involving filmmaking, opens in Los Angeles, Pasadena, New York and Boston next month. Lynch signed a service deal with Rhino Entertainment to release the DVD with planned bonus footage alongside the three-hour feature. Rhino vp video Sig Sigworth said it's tentatively scheduled to hit stores in the summer after the film's theatrical run.

Lynch purchased rights to distribute "Empire" in October from the film's producer, StudioCanal, and will retain them in any future deals. Peter Langs, 518 Media CEO, is helping the filmmaker book "Empire" in theaters.

"With self-distribution I'm able to shape the outcome of the film so much more," Lynch said. "I'm looking forward to meeting theater owners and getting out among the people with the cow."
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