Contender takes ‘Haditha’ in U.K.

Broomfield wants BAFTA run

LONDON — Contender Entertainment Group has picked up U.K. theatrical and DVD rights for Nick Broomfield’s Iraq war drama “Battle for Haditha.”

Move comes days after distrib Metrodome handed back U.K. rights of the film, which played in Toronto and London festivals, and won the director prize at San Sebastian, to sales agent Hanway Films.

Contender is rush releasing the pic on Feb. 1 to ensure it is eligible for this year’s BAFTA awards. Variety understands the reluctance by Metrodome execs to release the pic before the Feb. 8 BAFTA deadline, where a glut of releases including Paul Haggis’ Iraq drama “In the Valley of Elah,” would have left the Broomfield pic struggling for screens, was one of the reasons behind the parting of ways between Broomfield and Metrodome.

Other factors are thought to have included the size of the theatrical release.

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Contender will be releasing the pic on five prints nationwide.

Broomfield has a long standing relationship with Metrodome, who own a number of the helmer’s documentaries in their home video library, and both parties were keen to stress the no-hard-feelings aspect of the decision when it was announced on Dec. 21. “This is an amicable decision and I consider Metrodome to be a great company. I look forward to continuing our on-going relationship working with them on many of my other films,” said Broomfield at the time.

The DVD release of the pic, a powerful docu-drama recreation based on the real-life events that lead to the alleged massacre of an Iraqi family by U.S. troops posted in Haditha in 2005, will be day-and-date with its TV preem on Channel 4 on March 17.

“Contender is a really ambitious U.K. distribution outfit – Nick’s film is dynamite – and we’re happy that it’s in their hands,” said Hanway CEO Tim Haslam.