Controversial Hounddog Getting July 18 Release

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Empire Film Group, Inc. has acquired all North American distribution rights to the controversial independent film, Hounddog, starring Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright-Penn, Piper Laurie and David Morse. Empire has initiated a marketing campaign to release the film to more than 500 theaters on July 18, and anticipates box office revenues of more than $15 million.

“We believe that ‘Hounddog’ will be one of the top, independent films at theaters this summer,” said Dean Hamilton-Bornstein, CEO of Empire Film Group. “It is a powerful, coming-of-age drama that deals with serious issues that should resonate with audiences. Dakota Fanning delivers an Oscar-worthy performance and we expect to see a lot of media attention.”

Hounddog generated tremendous media interest when a promo reel was shown at the Sundance Film Festival last year. The character played by 12-year-old Dakota Fanning is sexually assaulted in a scene that enraged conservative media pundits, even though the attack is implied and not actually shown.

“I think we all wish that no children were ever assaulted,” said Deborah Kampmeier, writer and director of the film. “But it’s not helpful to the victims for our society to ignore the subject and pretend that it’s not real. ‘Hounddog’ takes this dark moment through an emotional recovery brought about through friends, family and music, to a message of hope.”

Hounddog features original music tracks and performances by Elvis Presley, including the title song. The film was produced by Scott Franklin, Jen Gatien, Terry Leonard, Lawrence Robbins and Deborah Kampmeier for Motion Picture Group, Deerjen Productions and Full Moon Films. Executive producers include Stacey Bakula, Rebecca Cleary, Sam Froelich, Heidi M. Kessler and Robin Wright-Penn. The director of photography was Jim Denault, ASC.

The 93 minute film is expected to receive a PG-13 rating.

Lynn Parrish, spokesperson for RAINN (Rape And Incest National Network), made the following statement of support for the release:

“As the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, RAINN is proud to support ‘Hounddog.’ Although not a topic frequently broached in entertainment media, rape happens everyday. In fact, every 2.5 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted. And assaults on minors make up nearly half of these cases. All too often, victims of rape — especially those under 18 — suffer in silence, without access to the support they need. RAINN applauds ‘Hounddog’ and Dakota Fanning for shedding light on the issue of sexual assault against our nation’s children, a problem that should no longer be ignored. It is our hope that the national discussion created by the film will give a voice to young survivors everywhere, allowing them to come forward despite the hurdles they face.”