First Run Features

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; on home video on DVD and Blu-Ray; to television broadcasters; and online through a diverse group of innovative digital partners.

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.

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First Run Features
  • Dedalus

    Directed by Jonah Greenstein • Drama • With Alexander Horner, Thomas Jay Ryan, Ashley Robicheaux • 2020 • 92 minutes

    DEDALUS is a fiction triptych portraying community, love, and loss.

    In rural Iowa, a grocery cashier watches helplessly as classmates conceal their act of sexual violence against...

  • How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

    Directed by Norberto López Amada & Carlos Carcas • Documentary • With Norman Foster, Buckminster Fuller, Cai Guo-Qiang, Anish Kapoor, Richard Rogers, Richard Serra • 2010 • 80 minutes

    Born in Manchester, England, on the wrong side of the tracks, Norman Foster rose from a humble working class bac...

  • Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times

    Directed by John Junkerman • Documentary • 2002 • 74 minutes

    “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: Stop participating in it.”
    - Noam Chomsky

    Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in our Times gives the public a rare opportunity to see and listen to one of the m...

  • Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, The Road is All

    Directed by Mark Blottner, Ilko Davidov & Denis Mueller • Documentary • 2015 • 85 minutes

    This in-depth portrait of notorious American author Nelson Algren uses interviews, rare archival footage, and the gritty voice of Algren himself to capture the elusive and unique literary figure whose fame ...

  • The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat

    Directed by Michael Dorsey • Documentary • With Kelly Lynch • 2012 • 46 minutes

    In 1959, a government employee named Richard Oyler, living in the tiny desert town of Lone Pine, California, asked world-famous modern architect Richard Neutra to design his modest family home. To Oyler's surprise, N...

  • To A More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor

    Directed by Donna Zaccaro • Documentary • With Edie Windsor, Nina Totenberg • 2018 • 63 minutes

    To a More Perfect Union tells a story of love, marriage and a fight for equality. The film chronicles two unlikely heroes, octogenarian Edie Windsor and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, on their quest fo...

  • Arguing the World

    Directed by Joseph Dorman • Documentary • With Irving Howe, Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Irving Kristol • 1997 • 109 minutes

    Arguing the World is the story of four brilliant and engaging men caught up in the central struggles of our time. This enthralling film creates a vivid picture of intellect...

  • F11 and Be There

    Directed by Jethro Waters • Documentary • 2020 • 80 minutes

    F11 AND BE THERE is a commentary on American civil rights, race, social justice, and art, told through the many lenses of legendary photographer Burk Uzzle. With a career that spans 65+ years, Burk Uzzle has created some of the most ico...

  • The Land of Owls

    Directed by Patrick Letterii • Drama • With Ricardo Dávila, Blake DeLong, Emma Duncan, Emma Lahti, Ronald Peet, David Rysdahl & Jasmin Walker • 2021 • 79 minutes

    The Land of Owls follows a pair of Brooklyn couples working through their relationship issues at an upstate retreat. In the isolation ...

  • You Go to My Head

    Directed by Dimitri de Clercq • Drama • With Delfine Bafort, Svetozar Cvetkovic, Arend Pinoy, Omar Sarnane, Laurence Tremolet • 2018 • 120 minutes

    This award-winning, critically lauded thriller begins in a desolate stretch of the Sahara, where a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman lost ...

  • My Comic Shop Country

    Directed by Anthony Desiato • Documentary • With Anthony Desiato, Jermaine Exum, Mark Waid, Paul Levitz, Patrick Brower, Mark Hammond • 2019 • 85 minutes

    Comic book characters are box office gold, but why do comic book stores struggle to survive? In My Comic Shop Country, filmmaker Anthony Desi...

  • The New Rijksmusuem

    Directed by Oeke Hoogendijk • Documentary • With Taco Dibbits, Wim Pijbes • 2014 • 131 minutes

    In 2003, the ambitious renovation of one of the world's greatest museums began. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, home to glorious masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and others, was supposed to reopen its ...

  • Sacco and Vanzetti

    Directed by Peter Miller • Documentary • With John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, Howard Zinn, Arlo Guthrie, Studs Terkel • 2006 • 82 minutes

    Sacco and Vanzetti brings to life the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists who were accused of a murder in 1920, and ...

  • Germans & Jews

    Directed by Janina Quint & Tal Recanti • Documentary • With Dr. Fritz Stern, Deidre Berger, Rafael Seligman, Rebecca Gop, Dr. Sergey Lagodinsky, Arik Hayut • 2016 • 76 minutes

    Today, Europe’s fastest growing Jewish population is in Berlin. Germany is considered one of the most democratic societi...

  • Dream Deceivers

    Directed by David Van Taylor • Documentary • With James Vance, Ray Belknap, Phyllis Vance, Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill, Glenm Tipton, Scott Travis • 1991 • 58 minutes

    Two young men shoot themselves in a churchyard. Ray Belknap dies; James Vance - severely disfigured - survives. Their par...

  • As Good As You

    Directed by Heather de Michele • Drama • With Laura Heisler, Anna Fitzwater, Raoul Bhaneja, Bryan Dechart, Annie Potts • 2017 • 85 minutes

    Jo (Laura Heisler) is having a bad year. She has major writer's block, a rather dire caffeine addiction and is deeply mourning the untimely death of her bea...

  • The Bridesmaid

    Directed by Claude Chabrol • Drama • With Benoit Magimal, Laura Smet, Aurore Clement, Bernard Le Coq, Selene Bouton, Anna Mihalcea • 2004 • 110 minutes

    It's love at first sight when bridesmaid Senta falls into the life of handsome young Philippe at the wedding of his younger sister. As their pa...

  • The Raw and the Cooked: A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan

    Directed by Monika Treut • Documentary • With Robin Winkler, Pannai, Huan-ru Ke, Heng-hong Liu, Raymond Wu, Nabu, Fu-yu Wang Ladibisse, Joy Hui-yi Hu, Sumi • 84 minutes

    Taiwan is known around the world as having one of the most diverse cuisines in Asia, and food is the foremost passion of its 23...

  • La Petite Lili

    Directed by Claude Miller • Drama • With Ludivine Sagnier, Nicole Garcia, Bernard Giraudeau, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Robinson Stévenin, Julie Depardieu, Yves Jacques, Michel Piccoli. • 2003 • 100 minutes

    Ludivine Sagnier stars as Lili, the love and muse of an idealistic young filmmaker in this mod...

  • Beyond Hatred

    Directed by Olivier Meyrou • Documentary • With Marie-Cecile Chenu, Jean-Paul Chenu • 2007 • 85 minutes

    In 2002, three French neofascist skinheads went to a public park in Rheims looking for an ‘Arab’ to attack when they came across Francois Chenu, a young gay man. When he refused to deny his ho...

  • Dateline - Saigon

    Directed by Thomas D. Herman • Documentary • With David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Malcolm Browne, Peter Arnett, Horst Faas, Sam Waterston • 2019 • 96 minutes

    Southeast Asia, 1960's. Flash point of the Cold War. Dateline-Saigon tells the inspiring story of a small group of Pulitzer Prize-winning ...

  • City Dreamers

    Directed by Joseph Hillel • Documentary • With Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Denise Scott Brown, Arthur Erickson • 2018 • 81 minutes

    Joseph Hillel's new documentary explores how four trailblazing architects have helped transform our cities.

    Phyllis Lambert...

  • One Bright Shining Moment

    Directed by Stephen Vittoria • Documentary • 124 minutes

    When presidential candidate George McGovern took on incumbent Richard Nixon in 1972, no one really expected him to win – and he didn’t. But in his bold, grassroots, seat-of-the-pants campaign, which energized young and progressive American...

  • A Perfect Candidate

    Directed by R.J. Cutler & David Van Taylor • Documentary • With Oliver North, Chuck Robb • 1996 • 105 minutes

    Sometimes horrifying, often hilarious, A Perfect Candidate is a twisted journey into the underbelly of American politics. In 1994 former Marine Oliver North re-emerged from the Iran-Cont...