First Run Features
First Run Features was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers to advance the distribution of independent film. Under the leadership of the late film pioneer, Fran Spielman, First Run Features quickly gained a reputation for its controversial catalog of daring documentaries and fiction films. Today First Run remains one of the largest independent distributors in North America, releasing between 15-20 films a year in theaters nationwide and an additional 30-40 films annually to schools, libraries and other educational institutions; to television broadcasters including PBS, Free Speech TV, and Pivot (all nonprofits); and online through a diverse group of innovative digital partners. The First Run legacy includes films by such notable directors as Spike Lee, Michael Apted, Peter Jackson, Alex Gibney, Joe Berlinger, Allen Miller, Rose Troche, Sven Nykvist, Jane Campion, Ross McElwee, Michael Winterbottom, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Barbara Kopple, Dariush Mehrjui, David O. Russell, Lizzie Borden, Michael Verhoeven, Claude Chabrol, Jan Svankmajer, Claire Denis, Benoit Jacquot, Marleen Gorris, Radley Metzger, Mark Kitchell, Deborah Shaffer, Victor Nunez, The Brothers Quay, George Sluizer, Monika Treut and Satyajit Ray. Over the years, First Run Features has survived everything from FBI surveillance to the demise of so many of its competitors. First Run proudly celebrated its 30th Anniversary in August 2009 with a retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2001 we were honored with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.