First Run Features and Human Rights Watch share the a philosophy that film has a unique ability to engage, inform and make a difference. In 2004, they launched a collaboration to bring films dealing with human rights issues to a wider audience. HRW's International Film Festival endorses select First Run titles that shed light on human rights abuses around the world.

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In partnership with ICESTORM International, First Run Features is the exclusive North American home video distributor of the films of Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft (DEFA), the state-run studios of the former East Germany. Spanning from 1946 to the 1990s, the DEFA films represent Europe's largest cohesive national cinema collection.

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Because film is critical to understanding diverse cultures, First Run Features and Asia Society collaborate to bring films from China to North American theaters, home video, and television markets. At a time when China is undergoing rapid economic and social changes, the films in this collaboration will provide a timely and unique window into the world’s largest nation.

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In 2007, First Run Features became the exclusive distributor of the Empire Pictures DVD Collection. Empire Pictures, the art house distribution company founded in 2000, cultivated a reputation as a home for provocative and celebrated films, including the Academy Award nominated The Twilight Samurai and the best-selling Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

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