Fortissimo acquires Killer DVDs

'Poison,' 'Spanked,' 'Swoon' among titles to kick off pact

In a push to rekindle an international ancillary life for the work that first put Killer Films on the map, Fortissimo Film Sales has acquired distribution rights to select titles from the New York-based indie stable’s library, including the early films of Todd Haynes and Tom Kalin.

First titles covered in the deal are Haynes’ Jean Genet-inspired 1991 debut “Poison”; medium-length feature “Dottie Gets Spanked”; and “Swoon,” Kalin’s retelling of the Leopold and Loeb murder case. Those films helped launch the New Queer Cinema movement of the early ’90s and established Killer principal Christine Vachon as an audacious producer of cutting-edge work.

“These films represent an exciting time in American independent film and launched the careers of Todd Haynes and Tom Kalin, directors we are proud to be still in business with,” said Vachon.

Killer most recently produced Haynes’ “Far From Heaven” and will next do the director’s untitled Bob Dylan project. Company is in the early stages of pre-production on Kalin’s next feature, “Savage Grace,” which was scheduled for a summer shoot but may be delayed.

Killer is working on clearing other backtitles to be part of the Fortissimo deal.

“These are great films that have been commercially dormant for a number of reasons,” said Fortissimo co-chairman Michael J. Werner, “but we feel there’s still life in them. It requires a lot of work on remastering, upgrading and adding DVD extras to increase the value of already valuable product. When you re-introduce films to the marketplace, you have to give the consumer something new.”

Fortissimo previously handled international sales on Killer productions “Party Monster” and “Camp.” First project through the library deal is a U.S. DVD reissue of “Swoon” in the fall through Strand Releasing.

Deal was set up by Vachon and junior exec Charles Pugliese for Killer, with Fortissimo’s Werner and Strand co-presidents Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans.