It's always good news to see independent films gain distribution deals for theatrical or DVD release that will give them a wider audience than the film-festival circuit. Here are a couple of the latest distribution deals negotiated for smaller indie films:
  • I saw the documentary 51 Birch Street at SXSW in 2006 and enjoyed it very much; it's a fascinating look at the way families do (or do not) communicate and the secrets that might be harbored. Last fall, the documentary toured theaters as part of Landmark's Truly Indie distribution program. Now director Doug Block has announced that Image Entertainment will be releasing the movie on DVD, with a tentative release date of August 14. I'm pleased that I now can recommend the film to all of you and you'll have a chance to see it in the next few months.
  • IFC and Red Envelope (the theatrical distribution arm of Netflix) have bought North American distribution rights to the drama This is England (pictured above), which Martha Fischer reviewed during its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival last year and called "impressively accomplished." It's written and directed by Shane Meadows and is based on his childhood experiences. The film will be screening soon at the Tribeca Film Festival, then will be released in July as part of IFC's day-and-date program, First Take.