Empire Pictures, the art house distribution company founded by Edmondo Schwartz  and Ed Arentz in 2000, has occupied a distinguished niche amongst US distributors, cultivating a reputation as a home for provocative and celebrated foreign films. Early in its history it scored a huge success when The Twilight Samurai garnered an Academy Award nomination. Several other titles also achieved attention and playdates around the country, including the story of Napoleon's escape from the island where he was exiled, Monsieur N.; the best-selling adaptation of the award-winning novel Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress; and the brave answer to 9/11 from famous filmmakers around the world, September 11. Empire also sometimes covered more conventional territory, with titles such as the classic kids/family story I Am The Cheese (starring Robert Wagner, Hope Lange and Cynthia Nixon) and genre titles such as The Big Score (starring Fred Williamson) and The Night Stalker (inspired by the Richard Ramirez murder spree).

Read the press release about the Empire distribution agreement.