Empire Pictures, the art house distribution company founded by Edmondo Schwartz  and Ed Arentz in 2000, has occupied a distinguished niche amongst US distributors, cultivating a reputation as a home for provocative and celebrated foreign films. Early in its history it scored a huge success when The Twilight Samurai garnered an Academy Award nomination. Several other titles also achieved attention and playdates around the country, including the story of Napoleon's escape from the island where he was exiled, Monsieur N.; the best-selling adaptation of the award-winning novel Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress; and the brave answer to 9/11 from famous filmmakers around the world, September 11. Empire also sometimes covered more conventional territory, with titles such as the classic kids/family story I Am The Cheese (starring Robert Wagner, Hope Lange and Cynthia Nixon) and genre titles such as The Big Score (starring Fred Williamson) and The Night Stalker (inspired by the Richard Ramirez murder spree).



Empire Pictures and First Run Features have an exclusive distribution agreement for First Run to handle the Empire DVD Collection. Having been unavailable for a year or longer, the Empire titles will be brought out in waves starting with three acclaimed gems - the Academy Award-nominated Twilight Samurai; the Isabelle Huppert showpiece La Vie Promise; and the extraordinary documentary double feature about Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times and 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris. All three DVDs will be released on February 20, 2007. Following these, First Run will release the next two titles, Monsieur N. and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress on April 17. Other titles scheduled for the first half of 2007 include the Spanish lesbian drama Suddenly and The Three Marias on May 22; I Am The Cheese on June 19; and September 11 and Almost Peaceful on August 21.

Read the press release about the Empire distribution agreement.