This summer, CFI Releasing launched the U.S. theatrical release of Klaus Härö’s The Fencer, a warm-hearted Cold War drama. The film has screened in 52 cinemas nationwide since it opened in July, making it the largest-ever nationwide release of a film by a nonprofit organization. The Fencer premiered at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center on August 25th. CFI Executive Director Mark Fishkin states: “The film epitomizes our continued mission to celebrate the art of film and demonstrates our dedication to showcasing original voices in independent cinema”.

Inspired by the true story of Endel Nelis, Estonia’s legendary fencing master, this beautifully crafted movie was a Golden Globe nominee for Foreign Language Film and was shortlisted for the 2016 Academy Awards.

The film follows a haunted young man’s arrival in an Estonian town that has been under harsh Russian Communist rule since the end of World War II. Taking a job as a sports instructor at the local school, he organizes a wildly successful fencing club, touching  the lives of the children in profound and moving ways.

Unable to find a distributor in the U.S., The Fencer would have remained unknown to audiences in this country. CFI recognized that this film deserved to be seen by a larger audience and our CFI Releasing program stepped in to make it happen. The Fencer is CFI Releasing’s first film acquisition since Touching Home in 2010.

CFI Releasing is a national nonprofit film distribution initiative that gives nationwide audiences access to exceptional independent films and promotes them as a valuable artistic and educational medium conveying different visions, viewpoints and cultural perspectives.