It's been a busy week for distributors buying the rights to independent films. One reason is Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), which is taking place right now, but films from other fests this year are also landing theatrical release. I'm especially pleased about the first film on this list since it's one I've seen and enjoyed.
  • Hannah Takes the Stairs, which premiered at SXSW earlier this year, has been picked up by IFC First Take for theatrical release. Hannah is Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg's third feature. The film has a large ensemble cast including Greta Gerwig, Kent Osbourne, Mark Duplass and Andrew Bujalski. The SXSW premiere triggered discussions about a potential new filmmaking movement called Mumblecore. The film will be released in theaters starting on August 22. First Take is IFC's day-and-date distribution program, so expect to see the film on cable soon too.
  • The Cinema Guild obtained U.S. distribution rights to the German film Yella, which premiered at Berlinale earlier this year. Nina Hoss won a Silver Bear for Best Actress in this thriller. Erik Davis's review has convinced me to see this film when it opens here: "Like a drug, Yella slowly creeps on you long after the end credits roll, takes hold of your body and doesn't let go until you're convinced it was one of the best films this year's Berlinale had to offer." Look for Yella to open in theaters later this year.