The documentary chronicling proto-punk band Death had its world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Fest and screens March 14 at SXSW. Austin-based Drafthouse is planning a summer theatrical and VOD release.

AUSTIN, TX – February 26, 2013 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced today the acquisition of North American rights to Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino’s riveting rockumentary A Band Called Death, which is set to screen at this year’s SXSW Film Festival in the “24 Beats Per Second” film category. The film chronicles rebirth and rise to cult stardom of early-’70s African-American “proto-punk” trio Death, following a new generation’s discovery of a virtually unheard demo tape more than 30 years later. A theatrical and VOD release for A Band Called Death is scheduled for this summer.

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, there was Death. Formed in 1971 by three teenage brothers in Detroit, Michigan, the African-American group is widely acknowledged as being one of the first punk bands. After years of struggling with canceled contracts, increasing debts, inner family tragedy, and a controversial name that barred them from future success, Death sold off their instruments and disbanded with their recordings lying dormant in an attic for decades. After years of silence, Death’s moment finally arrived following unexpected demand from rabid internet fans and record collectors, which ushered renowned appreciation and a swarm of national media attention that has now secured their place in the annals of rock history. Detroit-born Jack White of The White Stripes said in the New York Times: “the first time the stereo played [Death] I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was told the history of the band and what year they recorded this music, it just didn’t make sense. Ahead of punk, and ahead of their time.”

Following its world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival, A Band Called Death has received critical acclaim for its compelling music story as well as an unexpectedly emotional chronicle of familial camaraderie. Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter said the film is “a moving testament to the enduring power of family ties and groundbreaking music.” And for TwitchFilm, A Band Called Death is “one of the best music documentaries to come out in years.”

“Howlett and Covino’s film rewrites punk history and also transforms a better-than-fiction music story into a moving, emotional story,” says Drafthouse Films Creative Director Evan Husney, “and we are thrilled to be introducing the legacy of Death to audiences around the country.”

“I attended my first screening at the original Alamo Drafthouse more than ten years ago and am very excited all these years later to be working with Drafthouse Films” states producer Matthew Perniciaro. “Their passion for this film has been apparent since day one and we couldn’t be working with a better partner to get Death’s story out into the world.”

A Band Called Death is a Haven Entertainment and OGB, Inc. production, in association with
Howlermano Productions. The film is produced by Matthew Perniciaro and Kevin Mann of Haven (More Than A Game, Fanboys), Scott Mosier of OGB (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma) and Jerry Ferrara (Entourage, Think Like A Man).

The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Linzee Troubh of Cinetic Media on behalf of the film’s producers.