UserpicA to Z Doc Distribution: Emphasis on E for Education
Posted by Elizabeth


It's official and you can learn more at the link below about the A to Zs of Film Distribution Panel at SXSW that I am moderating. If you're headed down to Austin, check it out:

Are all film distributors equal? (Of course not!) What do the most successful distributors have in common? How can a filmmaker find out? In A to Z of Distribution (with an emphasis on 'E'), come learn what distinguishes four of the leading documentary distributors in the marketplace: Kino Lorber, Women Make Movies, Cinema Guild and New Day. Moderated by Elizabeth Sheldon, VP of Kino Lorber, each distributor will discuss how they select films, their different paths to market, what makes each company unique, and what they all have in common (hint, hint: starts with the letter ‘E’). Whether it is a theatrical department, digital distribution, specialty collections, or a strength in reaching the college/university/library market, each of the featured distributors has survived and thrived over the decades. Come learn why, how you and your film can benefit, and what they are looking for at SXSW.

Read more here.


UserpicIFP Independent Filmmaker Labs Open for Submissions
Posted by Elizabeth

Deadlines to Apply: March 9 (Documentary) / April 6 (Narrative)

IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs are a year-long fellowship supporting independent filmmakers when they need it most: through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their first features. Lab submission is open to all first-time documentary and narrative feature directors with films in post-production. Structured in three week-long components held over the year, the Labs offer personalized attention on post-production, audience building, and distribution strategies in the digital age, followed by continued support from IFP as the project premieres in the marketplace.

Recent Lab Project alumni now in theaters include Dee Rees' Pariah (Focus Features), Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda (AFFRM), and Victoria Mahoney's Yelling to the Sky (MPI), being released this spring. Premieres at 2012 festivals have included An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Sundance), Welcome to Pine Hill (Slamdance, Grand Jury Award), Una Noche (Berlin), and The Light in Her Eyes and Smokin' Fish (IDFA 2011) - with more Lab alumni set for upcoming festivals and broadcast. To apply or for more information, please visit


Winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Kino Lorber, Inc. ( is proud to announce the acquisition of all US and Canadian rights to the acclaimed documentary 5 Broken Cameras (2012), a daring chronicle of resistance in the West Bank by first-time Palestinian director Emad Burnat and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi.

Filmed from the perspective of a Palestinian farm laborer (i.e. co-director Emad Burnat), 5 Broken Cameras was shot using five different video cameras - all of them destroyed in the process of documenting Emad's family's life and non-violent Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Emad, who lives in Bil'in, just west of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, was thrust into global politics when his community peacefully resisted Israeli plans to erect a wall through their village. Initially given the camera to chronicle the birth and childhood of his son Gibreel, the film captures Gibreel growing into a precocious preschooler against the backdrop of the many non-violent protests that became an intrinsic part of life in the West Bank.5 Broken Cameras

With hundreds of hours of video footage covering a period of over six years, Guy Davidi and Emad have turned "five broken cameras" into a larger-than-life lyrical device that both informs and structures their personal and collective struggles in the West Bank. Furthermore, this Palestinian, Israeli and French co-production daringly meshes personal essay with political cinema, displaying how images and cameras can change lives and realities.

Richard Lorber commented: "This is that most rare film of both inspiration and aspiration; with all the visceral impact of a war movie, it operates on a higher cinematic and poetic plane. Ultimately the film drives deeper thinking and caring about a global political issue through the intimacy of its personal vision. We think audiences across the entire polarized Middle East spectrum will be powerfully moved by it as they have been already at key festivals."

5 Broken Cameras continues Kino Lorber's tradition of supporting Palestinian and Israeli productions (releases include the Academy Award nominated film Ajami and Beaufort) that illuminate long-standing issues in the Middle East. The film also stands as cinema of the highest order, and since its premiere on the festival circuit in the late fall, the film has won a Special Jury and an Audience Award at the prestigious International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) and received the World Cinema Directing Award (Documentary) at
Sundance Film Festival.

Kino Lorber plans to release 5 Broken Cameras to the theatrical, non-theatrical and educational markets in late summer - before a home video and digital release at the end of the year with television following. The film has just started its festival life, and given its outstanding reception so far, Kino Lorber expects 5 Broken Cameras to play in many other key US festivals in 2012.

This acquisition was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber and Vice President Elizabeth Sheldon and Catherine Le Clef, President of the Paris-based international sales agency CAT&Docs.


UserpicThe Mill and the Cross
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The Mill and The Cross, starring Rutger Hauer and Charlotte Rampling, based on the book by Michael Francis Gibson exploring Breugel the Elder's famous "Way to Cavalry," is available for download from MyFilmBlog for $14.95 in HD. Don't tarry. Watch now!


UserpicCrazy Wisdom: Premium Digital and Limited Edition DVD Release
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Crazy WisdomCrazy Wisdom is now available for download-to-own, which includes a limited edition white label DVD that ships free. Available only from Alive Mind Cinema to US viewers. Tell your friends!

Limited Edition DVDs are Sold Out! (Update 01/10/12)


Announcements, Reviews
UserpicA Terrific Exercise in Family Exorcism
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Intimate Stranger," says Berliner, "walks the fine line between sorting the dirty family laundry and polishing the precious family jewel." Family members try to make sense of it all in this witty, candid and cinematically inventive documentary biography.

"Funny, probing and so wholly original in both style and
substance as to seem completely without precedent...
brilliant, one-of-a-kind film...the remarkable life of a
seemingly average man presents a figure as complicated and
enthralling as any fictional character in recent memory...
intoxicating montage...expertly pieced together...
a spectacular high-wire feat by a fledgling master."
"Compellingly eccentric...powerful, bittersweet...
a rich, tumultuous portrait of family life..."

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UserpicGenius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
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Watch film trailer on your computer, on iPad, on iPod or on iPhone (automatic resolution)

"A thoughtful, confident, completely engrossing documentary about a cultural figure every bit as iconic as Jim Morrison or James Dean." - Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"The most comprehensive and touching film portrait of the great Canadian pianist in all his glories and miseries." - David Denby, The New Yorker

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UserpicKino Lorber Acquires Doc El Bulli: Cooking in Progress at SXSW
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Watch a short clip on your computer, on iPad, on iPod or on iPhone (automatic resolution)

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, directed by Gereon Wetzel (Castells). To be released under the company’s newly launched theatrical line Alive Mind Cinema, the film is set to begin its national run at New York’s Film Forum on July 27, 2011, and will expand to other markets around the country during the fall.

The deal was negotiated by Kino Lorber’s Vice President Elizabeth Sheldon with Peter Jager, CEO and Astrid Guger, Head of Theatrical Sales – both from Autlook Films.

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Announcements, Reviews
UserpicHimalaya Movie Review
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A large part of the appeal of ''Himalaya'' comes from the breathtaking beauty of its setting, the mountainous, sparsely populated Dolpo region of Nepal. Exquisitely filmed in Cinemascope, a format whose wide frames and panoramic angles emphasize the lonely grandeur of the landscape, the movie offers an intoxicating dose of armchair tourism, like a National Geographic pictorial brought to life.

Read the review at New York Times


Announcements, Interviews, Reviews
UserpicAmerican Mystic Is Now Available for Download
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Premiering in the documentary competition at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, Alex Mar’s American Mystic is a poem of a film, following three young people in America who have chosen to make their spiritual practice the center of their lives. A pagan priestess who proudly defines herself as a witch, Morpheus has moved to the outskirts of rural California to create a pagan sanctuary on a small plot of land. Kublai, a Spiritualist medium, works on a farm in upstate New York but spends his off hours with his head in the hands of elderly women, learning to channel spirits. Chuck, a Lakota Sioux, barely scrapes by at his day job in the city, but he and his wife are raising their child with their ancestors’ way of life as their guide, taking long trips to the reservation to participate in the traditions that are still alive.

Read full review and an interview with the filmmaker

Watch a film clip or Download to Own


UserpicAmerican Grindhouse
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Like the 2008 Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Elijah Drenner’s smart, affectionate but clear-eyed history of American exploitation films combines talking heads and well-chosen clips from movies that range from now-quaint 1913 white-slavery “exposé” Traffic in Souls to the still-scurrilous Nazi sexploitation classic Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.

Read the full review at Film Journal

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UserpicThe Sound of Insects Now Available for Download
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From The Wall Street Journal: "An experimental narrative... this curious film requires a contemplative mood to really take in. The premise is grim: A man decides to go into the woods, where he will stay until he starves himself to death. Swiss director Peter Liechti adapted the film a novel by Japanese writer Shimada Masahiko. The original work is based on a real-life incident, and the diary kept by a man who followed through with this unusual form of suicide. Observations mundane and profound are related in a low-key narration. For instance: The man lacks a huge appetite for his last unremarkable meal, so he spends his last coins on pinball. Yet, he knows his death will be drawn out, so he stocks his tent with grooming supplies. This ambient meditation certainly isn't for every viewer, but its philosophical tone and embrace of nature make it distinct."

Download to own or watch the film trailer


UserpicU.S. Premier of The Sound of Insects at Rubin Museum
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Winner of the European Film Academy Documentary 2009 award "for its skillful exploration of minimalistic means to create an extraordinary visual story between life and death."

A profound inquiry into the art of representation, Peter Liechti's The Sound of Insects probes the ever-elusive and mystifying line between life and death. The film also blurs the line between documentary and fiction. A hunter in a remote corner of the Austrian wilderness, makes the horrifying discovery of a desiccated human corpse in a makeshift tent deep in the forest. Who was this person? Why did he die? The dead body releases its secrets in a day-by-day account fusing fiction and reality in an unsettling, highly sensory narrative.

Based on the Japanese novel by Shimada Masahiko, which in turn is based on fact.

Craig Blinderman, M.D., chief of the Adult Palliative Medicine Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University joins poet Paul Muldoon after the screening.

Read more or buy the ticket


UserpicBrilliant Moon - Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche chronicles the life of the writer, poet, and meditation master Khyentse Rinpoche, one of Tibet’s most revered 20th-century Buddhist teachers. Known as the instructor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Royal Family of Bhutan, his life and teachings were an inspiration to all who encountered him.


Richard Gere and Lou Reed (Narration)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Matthieu Ricard
Orgyen Topgyal Rinpoche
Rabjam Rinpoche
Sogyal Rinpoche


UserpicTaqwacore, The Birth of Punk Islam, gets Best World Documentary at Hi5
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Harlem International Film Festival just announced the winners:

Hi5! 2010 is a particularly special year for the organizers at the Harlem International Film Festival. We've had the honor of programming five years of diverse, quality films and the opportunity to meet the filmmakers behind those works.

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UserpicThe Transformational Power of Buddhism
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Explore the transformational power of Buddhism when you download two classic films: Meditate and Destroy and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Meditate and Destroy is a powerful and moving documentary chronicling Noah Levine's harrowing journey from addict and juvenile delinquent to leader of America's first Buddhist punk movement: Dharma Punx. Directed by Sarah Fisher, Meditate and Destroy is the first film to trace the influence of this movement in major cities throughout America, where a new generation of youths are increasingly turning to meditation as a departure from drugs, violence and crime. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a two-part series exploring the titular spiritual text originating in the spiritual cultures of the Himalayas. Leonard Cohen's narration and the film's breathtaking cinematography combine to boldly visualize the afterlife according to the ancient text's wisdom. The resulting effort has been described by CM Magazine as a "marvelous documentary creation" that "demands multiple viewings." Both films are sure to enlighten you.

Meditate and Destroy

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Brilliant Moon


UserpicLorber Films acquires 'Genius Within'
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Lorber Films has picked up "Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould," set for a theatrical release opening in September at Gotham's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. DVD and digital will follow in early 2011.

Deal was negotiated by Lorber's Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon with Film Transit Intl.'s Diana Holtzberg and White Pine Pictures' Kelly Jenkins.

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UserpicThe Human Rights Movement Makes its Way to Video On Demand
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The human rights movement makes its way to Video On Demand (VOD) with Kimjongilia, offering all Americans the opportunity to take part through viewing this momentous documentary through instant online viewing or downloading.  Testament to the power of the information age to bring to light the atrocities of the world's most isolated nation, this VOD release will reveal the tragedies of the ongoing totalitarian state of Kim Jong Il, the last large-scale totalitarian state of the twentieth century.
Not yet available on DVD, Kimjongilia is accessible now from the comfort of home or on iPod, iPhone, or iPad at  Winner of the Best Film 2010 from One World Brussels, in co-op with Human Rights Democracy Network, Kimjongilia is a cri de coeur that will put North Korea on the table in human rights debates around the world.
To read Filmmaker N.C. Heikin's blog visit  Access bonus interviews not included in the final cut, ask the filmmaker questions, and learn what you can do to stop the death camps in North Korea.
Kimjongilia had its U.S. premiere at New York's Cinema Village and will also be available at select theaters and community screenings across America before the DVD release.  Click here to find out about upcoming screenings and learn how you can host a screening in your community.


UserpicWatch "Theater of War" Now Online Exclusively from Alive Mind
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Watch film trailer on your computer, on iPad, on iPod or on iPhone (automatic resolution)

Critically acclaimed documentary about the dramatic performance of one of the reigning queens of contemporary theater and film, Meryl Streep, as she interprets the role of Mother Courage in Tony Kushner's The Public Theater/NY Shakespeare Festival in Central Park production of Mother Courage and Her Children.

This inspired doc investigates the power of theater to provoke its viewers out of their complacency in the midst of protracted war, and proves the urgent relevancy of the great 1939 anti-war play by one of the twentieth century's most renowned playwrights, Bertolt Brecht.

"...filmmaker John Walter jumps from art to history and politics and back again, from the theater of the streets to the theater of the stage, without pause. That makes the movie... tough to summarize, which is part of its appeal" - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times


UserpicWatch Gogol Bordello Non-Stop
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Definitive film on the gypsy punk rock band and international sensation uncovers the insane party culture of the band and its leader and borderline movie star Eugene Hutz.

“In “Gogol Bordello Non-Stop” [Eugene Hutz] emerges as a passionate, articulate philosopher of punk’s democratic participatory aesthetic who espouses the rejection of social hierarchies in concerts that are raucous, bacchanalian performance-art carnivals.” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times

A vibrant chronicle of one of today’s most notorious and revered live bands, GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP follows Eugene Hütz’s gypsy-punk brigade around the world as they spread their liberating libertine musical gospel. Filmmaker Margarita Jimeno tracks their raucous gigs from 2001 to 2006, from NYC to Italy, as the band rises from dingy basements to festival main-stages. The cast is a rotating circus of polyglot personalities from Israel, Russia and America, who dish on their music, their heritage, and their favored vices.  Hütz, a sardonic mustachioed Ukrainian immigrant and the group ringleader, fuses his gypsy heritage with a love of punk rock and burlesque. Part carnival barker, social organizer, and poet, he’s a mesmerizing presence on-stage and off.

GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP is an artful documentary that mixes flamboyant costumes, intricate dance choreography, a relentless beat and an explosive energy not seen since the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll.

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Announcements, Distribution, News, Noteworthy, Offbeat
UserpicMeditate and Destroy- Now on VOD!
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Meditate and DestoryMeditate & Destroy is now accessible to viewers from the comfort of their homes or on the go exclusively via Alive Mind's Video On Demand service. Meditate and Destroy is an 81-minute documentary about punk rock, spirituality, and inner rebellion. The film focuses on the bestselling author of Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, Noah Levine. Tattoos, motorcycles, and Buddha are featured in this hard-hitting look at how Buddhism has a place in the world of punks. This inspiring film opens our perception to the possibilities of finding new paths- even in our darkest hours.

This film provides an up-close look at how the driving forces in Noah’s life changed from violence, addiction and rebellion to taking on the role of dedicated meditation teacher and community leader - an individual whose candor inspires others to integrate Buddhist teachings of nonviolence and inner peace with a Western lifestyle.

Available to all U.S households or mobile devices with a high-speed Internet connection, Meditate & Destroy will inspire viewers to embrace the transformational power of Buddhism. 

Watch Meditate & Destroy now

I hope you enjoy this quirky, unconventional film. 

Love and Light,

Sarah Fisher


fiercelight1.jpgInspirational Film Offered in Homes and on Mobile in Nationwide Launch from Alive Mind at

NEW YORK (MAY 4, 2009) - Beginning today, millions of people across the United States will be able to access the transformational documentary that captures the wave of Spiritual Activism exploding around the planet, and the powerful personalities who are igniting it on Video On Demand (VOD). Not yet available on DVD, Fierce Light is now accessible to viewers from the comfort of their homes or on the go at Available to all U.S households or mobile devices with a high-speed Internet connection, Fierce Light inspires viewers to embrace the transformational power of what Martin Luther King called "Love in Action," and what Gandhi called "Soul Force." Filmmaker Velcrow Ripper calls this uncompromisingly non-violent phenomenon Fierce Light-and attests that it is this very spirit that swept Barack Obama into the White House.

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UserpicFLicKeR to Premier in New York City!
Posted by Elizabeth

Yes, it is true, Nik Sheehan and FLicKeR are coming to New York city to the Anthology Film Archive, June 13th.

See you there.


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UserpicThe Gates Receives Peabody
Posted by Elizabeth

The Gates posterFrom the April 1, 2009 press release announcing the Peabody Awards:

The Gates (HBO)
Maysles Films in association with HBO Documentary Films and CVJ

Filmmakers explored how the now-celebrated Central Park installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude came to be in this memoir of a creative process that survived a 24-year odyssey of bureaucratic hoop-jumping.

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UserpicLorber Acquires Sundance Favorite Nollywood Babylon
Posted by Elizabeth

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, " 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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UserpicAlive Mind Acquires «Theater of War»
Posted by Elizabeth

Theater of War is now available for Download to Own to screen in HD

theater of war posterStreep 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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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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