By Maggie Overfelt, CNNMoney.com contributing writer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The news this week that Blockbuster Video has hired advisors to explore "restructuring" options, which analysts say could include a bankruptcy filing, is bittersweet to the movie rental business's remaining indie stores.
They're likely to outlive the corporate Goliath that once crushed scores of smaller retailers beneath its blue-and-yellow onslaught of identical chain stores. But the same forces that seem to have doomed Blockbuster (BBI, Fortune 500) - mail-order DVDs and streaming online video - may kill off the entire industry.
John Koch, the founder of Cinema Revolution in Minneapolis, is fighting on all fronts to keep his business going. Sales started softening in the middle of last year, when high gas prices kept people from making the drive out to his store. To compensate, he moved to a new location in Minneapolis, with a higher rent but also a more diverse and artistic community. Koch hopes his new neighbors will better appreciate his selection of foreign and cult films; he also provides a haven for local filmmakers who need a venue to screen their movies.
Read the article at cnn.money.
New York, NY - March 12, 2009 - Lorber HT Digital has acquired the U.S. theatrical rights and public performance rights to the acclaimed documentary NOLLYWOOD BABYLON, co-directed by Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, on the heels of the film's U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition. The deal was negotiated by Christina Rogers for the National Film Board and by Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon for Lorber HT Digital.
Lorber HT Digital will open NOLLYWOOD BABYLON theatrically at select venues in the second quarter of this year, and will also make it available to educational and cultural institutions. After the initial theatrical release, Lorber HT Digital will release the DVD to the consumer market on its Alive Mind label later in 2009.
Industry pioneer Richard Lorber, founder of Lorber HT Digital, comments on the acquisition, "NOLLYWOOD BABYLON celebrates the power of film to transform a culture and an industry. The explosion of Nigerian cinema over the last two decades is the reclaiming of African story-telling and culture by and for Africans. Nigeria is the new cultural center of Africa and Nollywood is the epicenter."
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times calls the film, "...an irresistible treatise on the Nigerian film industry..."
About The Film
NOLLYWOOD BABYLON chronicles the wild world of "Nollywood," a term coined in the early ‘90s to describe the world's fastest-growing national cinema, surpassed only by its Indian counterpart. The film delves first-hand into Nigeria's explosive homegrown movie industry, where Jesus and voodoo vie for screen time. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, known in Lagos as "Da Governor," is one of the most influential men in Nollywood. Undeterred by miniscule budgets, Da Governor is one of a cadre of resourceful filmmakers creating a garish, imaginative, and wildly popular form of B-movie that has frenzied fans begging for more. Among the bustling stalls of Lagos's Idumato market, films are sold, and budding stars are born. Creating stories that explore the growing battle between traditional mysticism and modern culture, good versus evil, witchcraft and Christianity, Nollywood auteurs have mastered a down-and-dirty, straight-to-video production formula that has become the industry standard in a country plagued by poverty. This burgeoning Nigerian film industry is tapping a national identity where proud Africans are telling their own stories to a public hungry to see their lives on screen. Peppered with outrageously juicy movie clips and buoyed by a rousing score fusing Afropop and traditional sounds, NOLLYWOOD BABYLON celebrates the distinctive power of Nigerian cinema as it marvels in the magic of movies.
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U.S. press missed a lot in Gaza according to the article in SF Chronicle:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Israel and the West Bank this week, giving the U.S. media another opportunity to tell the story of the 22-day war between the Israeli military and Hamas in Gaza in December and January. To San Francisco-based Middle Eastern media watcher Jalal Ghazi and other analysts, few Americans saw as many of the devastating images from Gaza as the rest of the world did.
Ghazi did. He is an associate producer for "Mosaic," a Peabody Award-winning daily aggregation of Middle Eastern news programs produced by San Francisco's Link TV. "Mosaic" culls broadcasts from 36 stations in 22 countries in the region.
Streep and Kevin Kline featured in documentary on the Tony Kushner-adapted Brecht masterwork
New York, NY – March 4, 2009 – Richard Lorber’s documentary label Alive Mind has acquired the U.S. theatrical, public performance and home video rights to the acclaimed documentary THEATER OF WAR, directed by John Walter (How to Draw a Bunny – Winner, Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival). Featuring Meryl Streep as the unforgettable Mother Courage, this 2008 documentary was based on the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Bertolt Brecht’s "Mother Courage and Her Children” in Central Park. THEATER OF WAR displays yet another facet to the brilliance of Streep, recently honored at the Oscars where she was cited for an unprecedented 15 nominations and two wins. The deal was negotiated by Sheri Levine and Michael Thornton of Forward Entertainment, Jack Turner of White Buffalo productions, and by Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon of Lorber HT Digital, for release under its Alive Mind banner.
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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.