Drafthouse & Films We Like to Distribute Half-Animated 'The Congress'
by Alex Billington
June 7, 2013
Time to visit the future. Drafthouse Films has announced their co-acquisition of another favorite film from this year's Cannes Film Festival -Ari Folman's The Congress, starring Robin Wright (seen above in the film). The half-live-action, half-animated feature involves a very hallucinogenic look at the celebrity culture and our fascination with identity and ended up being one of my favorite films of the fest. Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Films We Like based out of Toronto, will release The Congress in North America starting sometime in 2014. This is another recommended sci-fi gem.
Based on legendary science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem's 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, Folman's adaptation blends live action and psychedelic animation as an aging, out-of-work actress (Wright playing an unusual alternate reality version of herself) accepts her final job: preserving her digital image for a future Hollywood. 20 years later, Wright's digital double rises to immortal stardom and is invited to take part in "The Congress" as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema. "I am extremely excited by the idea that an innovative and passionate company such as Drafthouse Films will be the American distributor for The Congress," said Folman, "And their immediate reaction towards the film felt like love at first sight. I am absolutely confident they will take the film to all those places it is meant to go."
The press release notes that "a US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014 and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution." This will likely play at Fantastic Fest in September and likely at the Toronto/Venice Film Festivals as well. While I wasn't sure what to expect before seeing it, the film has great animation and explores some incredibly deep philosophical ideas about society, identity, our desires, and where we're headed in the near future. I'm glad to see Drafthouse Films releasing this, it needs the support from a studio that knows the audience that will embrace this film and all of its bold sci-fi ideas.