Christopher Amos dips his toes into distribution with the Oscar-nominated ‘Four Daughters’

'Four Daughters'. (Photo Credit:

At the Australian International Movie Convention late last year, filmmaker Christopher Amos noted there was one genre that seemed to be absent in each of the distributors’ presentations: documentary.

He mentioned to a friend sitting beside him that there was a documentary he saw in Cannes in May – Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters – that he was sure would have been picked up for Australia distribution, given it was likely to score an Oscar nomination.

His friend informed him that he’d actually been talking to the French sales agent repping the film about another project. Together, they decided to look into if anyone did have the rights and quickly found they were still available.

Out of curiosity, Amos then started due diligence: Could make his money back should he acquire Four Daughters? He had positive discussions with free-to-air broadcasters about what they might be willing to pay for the title once it reached ancillary windows, so conversations with exhibitors followed. In the meantime, the film was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

“I was like, ‘This is really starting to happen, the momentum is behind this film, and I’m the only person in Australia who’s actually going to make it available to people. If I don’t get involved, this film isn’t going to be seen in cinemas, it’s just going to go streaming, yet it’s such a theatrical experience,'” Amos tells IF.

A co-production between France, Tunisia, Germany and Saudi Arabia, Four Daughters is the story of Olfa Hamrouni, a Tunisian woman whose two eldest daughters were radicalised by Islamic extremists. The film’s director, Ben Hania, then invites professional actresses to fill in their absence.

Four Daughters just won best documentary at France’s César Awards and The Independent Spirit Awards, and is nominated for the documentary Oscar come March alongside 20 Days in Mariupol, Bobi Wine: The People’s President, The Eternal Memory and To Kill A Tiger.

Amos’ company, Chrysaor, will release the film in Australian and New Zealand cinemas this Thursday, marking the first time the business has handled the distribution of a project.

The company has secured around 30 screens in Australia across Hoyts, Palace, Dendy, Luna and Nova cinemas. While going out on the same date as one of the most anticipated films of 2024 – Dune: Part Two – might be seen as a risk, Amos is hopeful it may work in the film’s favour as counterprogramming.

“Initially I thought that we should probably try and get it out for Oscar nominations, but the release schedule was really crowded then because it was the end of the summer school holidays and also the Academy season was pulling some really big titles like Anatomy [of a Fall] and Zone [of Interest], ones that distributors that had a lot more marketing budget could rally behind. So I wanted to divorce myself from that,” he says.

“We saw the 29th and I was like, ‘Well it’s a leap year, that’s a funky date that only happens every four years – maybe we should just roll the dice and let the cosmos do its thing’.

“It was a really skinny window in the schedule because Dune 2 is this mega monster, big budget tentpole. Everyone was avoiding that weekend a bit, which made me lean into it because it’s such a different film experience anyway. And if anything, our posters, for the screens that are showing Four Daughters at the same time, will be seen by the Dune 2 audience – there’s going to be high foot fall in cinemas, so we’re leaning into that as part of our opportunity.”

Amos admits he’s jumped in the “deep end” by moving into theatrical distribution, having had to quickly learn about cinema delivery software, the classification process, the creation of marketing assets, and cinema policy.

However, it has been a welcome experience; he has had a long-standing interest in distribution as a filmmaker, having always felt that a film, particularly a documentary, is only really valid if it is seen by an audience. He is also dedicated to the feature film experience in cinemas.

Amos is hopeful to release more titles under the Chrysaor label, having hired Marc Ricov to handle the distribution and sales side of the business. As a gay man, he is keen for his next acquisition to be a niche LGBTI+ title for limited release. He believes once he has then worked out an economical business model for the distribution of smaller films, he may be able to handle Australian films in the next year or so.

For local films, he poses that his point of difference in the ANZ market is that he is a filmmaker himself, and knows the value of having projects screen in cinemas as intended: “I’m not motivated by the financial, commercial aspects [of distribution]. I’m motivated by getting eyeballs and having an impact for a title.”

Amos is cognisant that building relationships with cinema owners and sales agents may prove beneficial when it comes to his own films too. By the same token, moving into distribution has also made him reflect on his own filmmaking, in terms of understanding how to pitch projects to cinema programmers.

“I think as a filmmaker I hadn’t really considered before that in Australia, my audience is the 20 people who decide which films get to go to the cinema. Those are the people I’ve got to make sure enjoy the film and see it as something that they can sell to their neighbourhood community to come to their screens to watch. That alone is a major epiphany for me,” he says.

Having made documentaries like Dressed as a Girl  and Hating Peter Tatchell, Amos is now moving more into the narrative space. He’s recently had a script, Dancing Queens, optioned by Genesius Pictures out of the UK, and is also working on another, a road movie called Motorhome, which will likely be set in the US but shot in Australia. He is also about to undertake, via Screen Australia’s Enterprise program, a placement with RuPaul’s Drag Race producer World of Wonder in LA, where he is keen to learn more from its approach to a varied slate that also encompasses documentary and feature film.