First Run Features

First Run Features is an independent film distribution company based in New York City.[1]

First Run Features
IndustryFilm distribution
HeadquartersNew York, NY, USA
ProductsFilms, VOD, DVDs, Blu-rays


First Run was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers in order to advance the distribution of independent film.[2] In the 1980s, the company focused on more mainstream documentaries and started distributing films on video.[3]

It is one of America's largest independent distributors of documentaries and art films, releasing 12 to 15 films a year in theaters nationwide and 40 to 60 titles on DVD and VOD annually. First Run distributes a large number of documentaries and foreign films, including many films about LGBT issues, Jewish experience, and political and human rights issues.

First Run is the American distributor for Michael Apted's Up series, Ross McElwee's Sherman's March, the Oscar-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America, Maidentrip, Girl Model, Eames: The Architect and the Painter, For the Bible Tells Me So, A Jihad for Love, God Loves Uganda , D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus's Kings of Pastry, Joe Berlinger's Crude, Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki's The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Alice, Save Me, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power and Moving Midway, among many others. Many of the films First Run Features has distributed have been endorsed by Human Rights Watch.

Notable filmsEdit

Year Title
2016 A Matter of Time[4]
2015 Welcome to Leith[5]
2015 Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art[6]
2015 The Looking Glass[7]
2013 A Girl and a Gun
2012 Pink Ribbons, Inc.[8]
2011 The Man Nobody Knew[9]
2010 The Most Dangerous Man in America
2009 Crude
2009 Ballerina
2009 Altiplano
2009 A Wink and a Smile
2008 Moving Midway
2008 A Jihad for Love
2008 Constantine's Sword
2008 Praying with Lior
2007 For the Bible Tells Me So
2007 Save Me
2007 The Power of Forgiveness
2007 Please Vote for Me
2007 Breaking the Maya Code
2004 Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
2003 Bonhoeffer
2002 The Butterfly
2001 Venus Boyz
2001 The Fluffer
1999 Gendernauts
1999 After Stonewall
1995 Whitewash
1993 Speak Up! It's So Dark
1992 Utz
1991 The Architecture of Doom
1984 Before Stonewall
1979 The War at Home[10]
1975 A Boy and his Dog


  1. ^ Kelly Anderson, Distributor profile: First Run Features, Real Screen, July 29, 2010
  2. ^ The Independent: "Fran Spielman" interviewed by Eric Breitbart and Morris Sapadin vol 4 no I
  3. ^ "Finding a Place for Small Movies in the Big Picture". The New York Times. July 14, 1998. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Devlin, Mike (July 28, 2016). "Kathryn Calder raises ALS awareness with personal doc A Matter of Time". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Van Cott, Kaeli (July 22, 2015). "First Run Features Acquires Sundance Doc 'Welcome to Leith'". Indiewire. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Rosen, Steven (September 30, 2015). "Land Art". Cincinnati City Beat. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Levine, Sydney (October 6, 2015). "John Hancock's 'The Looking Glass' is Coming to Theaters Via First Run Features". Indiewire. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Vlessing, Etan (January 27, 2012). "NFB's Drisdell discusses challenges of "Pink Ribbons" release". Reelscreen. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  9. ^ Carl Colby (director) (September 2011). The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby (Motion picture). New York City: Act 4 Entertainment.
  10. ^ Canby, Peter (October 12, 2018). "The Classic Vietnam-Era Documentary "The War at Home" and Its Lessons of Nonviolence". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved January 27, 2019.