Martin Starr, Paul Wesley Movie ‘Amira & Sam’ Lands U.S. Distribution

Martin Starr, Paul Wesley Movie 'Amira & Sam' Lands U.S. Distribution

Drafthouse Films will release Sean Mullin's romantic comedy early next year

Drafthouse Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Sean Mullin's romantic comedy “Amira & Sam,” which stars Martin Starr and Dina Shihabi as the title characters, as well as Paul Wesley.

Sam (Starr) is an honorable army vet who, while visiting his old unit's Iraqi translator in New York, meets Amira (Shihabi), the translator's niece and an illegal immigrant. After Amira has an unfortunate encounter with the police, Sam reluctantly takes her in while she sorts out her immigration status. Their begrudging connection burgeons into an unlikely romance until Amira is threatened with deportation and Sam is forced to make a critical decision.

Wesley plays Sam's cousin, while Laith Nakli (“The Visitor”) plays Amira's uncle. The cast also includes David Rasche (“Burn After Reading”).

“Amira and Sam” had its world premiere earlier this year at the Seattle International Film Festival and will soon screen at Forever Fest in Austin.

The film is the first feature written and directed by Sean Mullin from Five By Eight Productions. It was produced by Terry Leonard from Strongman and Erich Lochner and Matt Miller from Vanishing Angle, and executive produced by James Ponsoldt and Meg Montagnino-Jarrett & Peter Sobiloff from Hole in One Productions.

“Amira & Sam is the rare kind of festival discovery. It goes beyond what you expect and becomes something truly exciting and special. We are proud to get a chance to release this film and really believe there's a big audience out there for this gem,” said Drafthouse Films executive James Emanuel Shapiro.

“Most soldier-coming-home-from-war films deal with soldiers battling PTSD, and so I wanted to flip that well-worn premise on its head and ask: what if the soldier who returns is fine, but it's his country that's lost its mind,” said Mullin, a West Point graduate and Army veteran.

“It's not often that you find a distributor with as much passion about your film as your filmmaking team, but that's exactly what we've found with Drafthouse Films,” added Lochner. “We're thrilled to be partnering with them.”

“Amira & Sam” will screen in select theaters across North America and will be released on a variety of VOD platforms and digital, DVD and Blu-ray formats in early 2015.

The deal was negotiated by Zac Bright from Preferred Content, Bec Smith from UTA Independent Film Group and Andre Des Rochers from Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers on behalf of the producers, and James Emanuel Shapiro from Drafthouse Films.