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
  • Chasing Portraits

    Directed by Elizabeth Rynecki • Documentary • With Eilzabeth Rynecki, Alex Rynecki, Shula Eliaz, Volettoa Bachur, Moshe Wertheim • 2018 • 78 minutes

    Moshe Rynecki (1881-1943) was a prolific Warsaw-based artist who painted scenes of the Polish-Jewish community until he was murdered at Majdanek co...

  • Come Undone

    Directed by Sebastien Lifshitz • Drama • With Jeremie Elklaim, Stephane Rideau, Marie Matheron, Dominique Reymond • 2000 • 97 minutes

    The sensual gay classic Come Undone explores a young man's homosexual awakening and the turbulence of first love in a small French seaside town.

    Mathieu, a quiet...

  • Cuban Food Stories

    Directed by Asori Soto • Documentary • With Ernesto Perez Medina, Migdalia Armas Rieche, Gilberto De Armas Rieche, Lazaro Yohan Machin, Felix "Felito" Manuel Berenger • 2018 • 82 minutes

    From director Asori Soto and the executive producers of Jiro Dreams of Sushi comes a unique film about food, ...

  • Dancing Dreams

    Directed by Anne Linsel & Rainer Hoffman • Documentary • With Pina Bausch, Jo-Ann Endicott, Bénédicte Billiet • 2010 • 89 minutes

    Two years ago, world-famous dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch selected 40 teenagers who had never heard her name to be part of her dance piece Contact Zone. For 1...

  • Dark Diamond

    Directed by Arthur Harari • Drama • With Niels Schneider, August Diehl, Hafed Benotman • 2016 • 115 minutes

    Dark Diamond is a thriller about a man who, out of retribution, tries to destroy his family's diamond business. 

    Pier blames his extended diamond-dealer family for his father's tragic lif...

  • Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

    Directed by Cheryl Dunye • Drama • With Cheryl Dunye, Zoie Strauss, Paula Cronan, Wanda Freeman, Shu Leah Cheang, • 1994 • 80 minutes

    Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, hu...

  • Eastern Boys

    Directed by Robin Campillo • Drama • With Olivier Rabourdin, Kirill Emelyanov, Daniil Vorobyov, Edea Darque, Bislan Yakhiaev • 2013 • 128 minutes

    Arriving from all over Eastern Europe, the men who loiter around the Gare du Nord train station in Paris are scraping by however they can, forming gan...

  • Every Three Seconds

    Directed by Dan Karslake • Documentary • 2014 • 100 minutes

    In a society where materialism reigns, what is the real secret to happiness? Award-winning filmmaker Daniel Karslake (For the Bible Tells Me So) tells the unforgettable stories of five regular folks—a boy, a college student, a thirty-so...

  • Forgiving Dr. Mengele

    Directed by Bob Hercules & Cheri Pugh • Documentary • With Eva Mozes Kor, Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Michael Berenbaum, Albert H. Friedlander • 2007 • 82 minutes

    Eva Kor and her twin sister were victims of the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who conducted sadistic experiments on human beings at...

  • Girl Model

    Directed by David Redmon & Ashley Sabin • Documentary • With Ashley Arbaugh, Olivia Arben, Rachel Blais, Tigran Khachatrain, Nadya Vall • 2012 • 77 minutes

    Girl Model explores how young girls are discovered in obscure corners of the globe and initiated into the high stakes modeling industry. Thi...

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here

    Directed by Amei Wallach • Documentary • With Ilya Kabakov, Emilia Kabakov, Igoris Markovas, Andrei Monastrysky, Oleg Vassiliev • 2013 • 103 minutes

    Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here portrays two of Russia’s most celebrated international artists, now American citizens, as they come to terms wi...

  • Last Cab to Darwin

    Directed by Jeremy Sims • Drama • With Michael Caton, Jacki Weaver, Ningali Lawford-Wolf, Emma Hamilton, Mark Coles Smith • 2014 • 123 minutes

    Rex is a cab driver who has never left the mining town of Broken Hill in his life. When he discovers he doesn’t have long to live, he decides to drive t...

  • Live Nude Girls Unite

    Directed by Vicky Funari & Julia Query • Documentary • With Julia Query, Siobhan Brooks, Kristina, Ellen, Star, Joyce Wallace • 2000 • 70 minutes

    Winner of the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Live Nude Girls Unite! is "a partisan tale from the inside" (Boston Pho...

  • Louise By the Shore

    Directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie • Animation • With Rance Castel • 2016 • 75 minutes

    On the last day of summer in a small seaside resort town, an older woman named Louise realizes that the last train has departed without her. She finds herself alone in the town, abandoned by everyone. As the ...

  • Mademoiselle Paradis

    Directed by Barbara Albert • Drama • With Maria Dragus, Devid Striesow, Lukas Miko • 2017 • 97 minutes

    Set in 18th century Vienna, this is the true story of Maria Paradis, a gifted piano player and friend of Mozart, who lost her eyesight as a child. Desperate to cure their talented daughter, her...

  • Maidentrip

    Directed by Jillian Schlesinger • Documentary • 2013 • 82 minutes

    14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out - camera in hand - on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked...

  • Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter

    Directed by Greg Vander Veer • Documentary • With Martha Hill, Robert Battle, H.T. Chen • 2014 • 80 minutes

    Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter reveals the little known story of Martha Hill, a visionary who fought against great odds to make contemporary and modern dance a legitimate art form in Ameri...

  • Mountain

    Directed by Yaelle Kayam • Drama • With Shani Klein, Avshalom Polak, Haitham Omri, Orly Pearl • 2015 • 81 minutes

    In 'Mountain,' a young Orthodox Jewish woman becomes involved with a nocturnal community of prostitutes and drug dealers. Tzvia lives with her family in the Jewish cemetery on Jerusa...

  • Naples '44

    Directed by Francesco Patierno • Documentary • With Benedict Cumberbatch • 2016 • 85 minutes

    In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observin...

  • Olancho

    Directed by Chris Valdés and Ted Griswold • Documentary • 2018 • 70 minutes

    Olancho is the most lawless province of Honduras, the most murderous country on the planet. Here, the drug trade has taken its toll in human lives and economic damage. But to some musicians, the cartels provide an opport...

  • Parting Glances

    Directed by Bill Sherwood • Drama • With Richard Ganoung, John Bolger, Steve Buscemi, Adam Nathan, Kathy Kinney • 1986 • 90 minutes

    Heroic, funny and romantic, Parting Glances is a triumph for everyone who has ever been in love-straight or gay. The story revolves around two men, Michael and Robe...

  • Patrimonio

    Directed by Lisa F. Jackson, Sarah Teale • Documentary • 2017 • 83 minutes

    A multi-billion dollar American development is poised to engulf a small coastal community in Mexico with a mega hotel/condo complex. But local people are banding together to save their way of life and the delicate ecosyst...

  • Penguin Counters

    Directed by Peter Getzels & Harriet Gordon • Documentary • 2016 • 68 minutes

    Armed with low-tech gear and high-minded notions that penguin populations hold the key to human survival, Ron Naveen lays bare his 30 year love affair with the world's most pristine scientific laboratory: Antarctica. Th...

  • Photographic Memory

    Directed by Ross McElwee • Documentary • 2012 • 87 minutes

    Filmmaker Ross McElwee (Sherman’s March, Bright Leaves) finds himself in frequent conflict with his son, a young adult who seems addicted to and distracted by the virtual worlds of the internet. To understand his fractured love for his s...