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2014 SXSW Yields Several Home Entertainment Options

21 Mar, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

There was some noteworthy home entertainment news to come out of the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, held March 7-16.

The documentary DamNation, which took home the SXSW Audience Award, is being made available for digital preorder through Vimeo on Demand, before it goes on a limited theatrical run starting in May. The filmmakers are also offering it on iTunes and other digital outlets.

“The health of our rivers impacts all of us, and we have too many degraded rivers with unnecessary and obsolete dams,” said ecologist and producer Matt Stoecker. “I’m thrilled to see audiences connect with our film and help us build momentum to free our rivers.”

Starz Digital Media announced it acquired the film We Gotta Get Out of This Place with the intent of North American digital and VOD distribution. The film first premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at AFI Fest. 

“I love when our team discovers films by talented new filmmakers,” said Kevin Kasha, head of acquisitions for Starz. “Set in a dead-end Texas town, Zeke and Simon Hawkins offer audiences a gritty thriller that presents a fresh, sometimes surreal take that will appeal to film fans everywhere. We’re excited they’ve partnered with Starz to share their debut film.”  

Meanwhile, Epix, the multiplatform pay-TV channel run by Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lionsgate, premiered its original documentary Doc of the Dead at SXSW before showing it on the Epix channel March 15.

Looking at the evolution of zombies in film, TV and literature, and the impact zombies have on pop culture, the film interviews George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead), actors Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead), producer Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead”) and acclaimed author Max Brooks (bestsellers The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z).

Epix made the film part of a all-day “Zombie-thon,” which included a newly re-mastered high-def version of director Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, with a special introduction by Brooks.

Dark Sky Films, distributed by MPI, showed off a newly restored version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the horror film. After the restored version hits theaters this summer, a home entertainment release is likely on the way. The new version removes scratches, film and chemical stains, dirt, torn perforations, rips in the film image and glue splices found in previous versions.

“I haven’t seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on the big screen for many, many years,” said director Tobe Hooper. “This 40th anniversary restoration is absolutely the best the film has ever looked. The color and clarity is spectacular, displaying visual details in the film that were never before perceptible. The newly remastered 7.1 soundtrack breathes new life and energy into the film. I am very much looking forward to audiences experiencing this film as they never have before.”

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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