Another coup for Lorber HT Digital, who acquired North American theatrical and home video rights for the 2008 New York Film Festival winner, Tony Manero. Set in Chile during the grim days of the military dictatorship of General Pinochet, the film opens with the seemingly benign protagonist, Raul, protecting a little old lady from neighborhood thugs (where are the ubiquitous Chilean police when you need them?). Any sympathy is quickly shattered when Raul bashes her brains out with his bare hands and then absconds with her color television set, although not before taking care to feed her cat.
A macabre political parable, Raul's obsession with Saturday Night Fever is an apt metaphor for the dictatorship. The film's use of violence and sexual disfunction is appropriate and powerful. Raul's fantasy, and his single-minded pursuit of it, paints a dark picture of life under a dictator.
Read more at Indiewire.
I saw a preview of the film and found it very provocative (yes, it got away from me). Having taken a seminar with Professor Zizek (anybody who registered was guaranteed an 'A'), it is nice to see that there is still an audience for an Eastern European Lacanian Marxist. The seminar was packed and he was revered like a rock star. The article below is by Andrew O'Hehir at Salon.com
Astra Taylor knows she's a little over her head in the whimsical, earnest series of conversations with philosophers that makes up her film "Examined Life." But the young filmmaker uses that fact to disarm us, putting herself clumsily into the frame during a stroll in New York's Washington Square Park with inscrutable post-Heideggerian feminist philosopher Avital Ronell, who declares that she would like to interview Taylor, rather than the other way around.
As the scene continues, Taylor apologizes for the shallowness of trying to present an introduction to several important contemporary philosophers in an 85-minute feature film. Rather preeningly, Ronell quips that it's fine that the other philosophers in the film are restricted to 10 minutes each, but she should not be subjected to such an indignity, and then launches into an extended monologue about the healthy uses of anxiety and meaningless in the postmodern world. It's good to feel bad, more or less. OK, she doesn't actually say "postmodern," but she might as well. Meanwhile, Taylor's camera wanders around the park, capturing the book-readers and iPod-listeners and park-bench smoochers and frolicking dogs in the middle distance while Ronell keeps talking. One of these people has just been made to look like an ass, and it isn't Taylor.
Read more at Salon.com
Lots of sepculation in the industry regarding the fate of New Yorker Films, an icon in the art distribution world. By Andrew O'Hoheir at Salon.com
New Yorker Films
An icon of independent cinema crumbled before the nation's widening financial crisis on Monday, as New Yorker Films, owner of an unparalleled library of art-house films from all over the world, announced it was closing up shop after nearly 44 years. While the company had evidently been in distress for some time -- it had sharply downscaled its theatrical operations, and its DVD releases were frequently delayed -- the announcement still sent shock waves through the independent film world.
New Yorker was founded in 1965 by moviehouse proprietor Dan Talbot, who continued to run it, in partnership with co-president José Lopez, until the closing was announced Monday. In case you're wondering, it has no connection with the New Yorker magazine, owned by Condé Nast. Talbot named the film company after the repertory cinema he then operated on Manhattan's Upper West Side. (While that theater is long gone, Talbot still owns a majority share of the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, another Upper West Side institution, which is unaffected by New Yorker's closing.)
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Controversial satirical series from leading Israeli channel now an international sensation.
New York, NY, February 23, 2009 — Richard Lorber has acquired the U.S. home entertainment rights to the controversial hit Israeli comedy series ARAB LABOR (Avoda Aravit), it was announced today. The deal was negotiated by Keren Shahar for Israeli producing broadcaster Keshet (Channel 2) and by Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon for Lorber HT Digital. The pact was facilitated by Steven Lawrence for Link TV, the independent television network which premiered the series on U.S. television this past fall to enormous success and media attention. The uniqueness and quality of the series also led to the unprecedented presentation of individual episodes at leading U.S. film festivals. The Los Angeles Times calls the series, “…groundbreaking and amazing,” and the San Francisco Chronicle calls it’s creator, Sayed Kashua, “The Palestinian Seinfeld.” Lorber and Link will partner in marketing and cross-promoting continued U.S. broadcast and DVD and digital download sales of the series.
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New label acquires Ferrera/Maysles Documentary about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s iconic Central Park work of art.
New York, NY – January 6, 2009 – Alive Mind has acquired all North American rights to Antonio Ferrera and Albert Maysles’ landmark documentary, THE GATES. The acquisition was negotiated by Antonio Ferrera and Patricia Jones (on behalf of Maysles Films, CVJ Corporation, and Ferrera Films) and Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon on behalf of Lorber HT Digital for release on their new specialty distribution label, Alive Mind.
Alive Mind will open THE GATES theatrically in New York next spring, and it will play select venues around the country throughout 2009. The film will also be immediately available to educational institutions that have been clamoring for it since its gala debut at The Tribeca Film Festival.
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