Tim League launches Drafthouse Films

Controversial Brit comedy 'Four Lions' to be first release

After more than a decade as one of the nation's most creative exhibitors, Austin's cult-beloved Alamo Drafthouse is hanging out its shingle as a distributor.

Never one for namby-pamby films (he considered naming his distribution biz Badass Cinema before settling on Drafthouse Films), company founder/CEO Tim League has chosen to enter the arena with a movie others seem too scared to touch: "Four Lions," the comedy about aspiring jihadists that stunned crowds at Sundance.

League, who says he has been a fan of "Lions" director Chris Morris's work for many years, has toyed with distribution for a while but was pushed off the fence when he saw established distribs balking at a film with the potential to inflame extremists across the spectrum. "You can take it so many ways," he says, admitting that the film's purposely ambiguous tone may well offend both Christians and Muslims.

Drafthouse will test the waters with a ten-city promo tour (with Morris attending screenings) in mid-October, followed by a platform opening in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin.

It remains to be seen how the theater's legacy of unusual screenings with film-specific gimmicks (showing "Jaws" to viewers floating in inner tubes along a lakefront, for instance) may crop up in future Drafthouse releases, but League says there will be no "parlor trick" involved when he brings the film to New York.

"We're not going to screen the film at the Burlington Coat Factory or anything like that," he promises, adding with uncharacteristic seriousness that he hopes to expose "Lions" "to conservative Christian audiences as well as Muslim audiences to show that the film has broad comedic appeal."