Phase 4 bets on 'Poker House'

Picks up rights to Lori Petty's directorial debut

Phase 4 Films, the new theatrical, DVD and television distribution company founded by former Peace Arch Home Entertainment president Berry Meyerowitz, has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to Lori Petty's "The Poker House."

The actress' directorial debut, "Poker," which she wrote with fellow actor David Alan Grier, is based on her teenage years and stars Selma Blair, Grier and Jennifer Lawrence in a portrait of poor, small town life in Iowa, circa 1976. Lawrence plays Agnes, the oldest of three sisters living in the "Poker House" -- a brothel, drug mecca and gambling oasis for local squatters. Blair plays her drug-addicted mother.

The film premiered at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, where Lawrence won the Outstanding Performance award.

"Poker" will have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on July 17 and will then be released on DVD in the U.S. and Canada on Aug. 18.

"Lori Petty's debut is a brave and emotional story showcasing incredible performances by its actors, especially Selma Blair and newcomer Jennifer Lawrence," Meyerowitz said.