By Ray Pride

Kino Lorber And Zeitgeist Films Align; KL To Distribute ZF Library 


Kino Lorber is pleased to announce a multi-year strategic alliance with renowned film distributor Zeitgeist Films, founded and run by industry leaders Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo.

Going forward, Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist Films will co-acquire four to five theatrical titles per year to be marketed and released by Zeitgeist Films, which continues to be operated and controlled by co-presidents Gerstman and Russo. In addition, Kino Lorber will become the exclusive distributor of all Zeitgeist Films titles for the home video and educational markets, as well as all digital media, adding Zeitgeist’s library of more than 130 award-winning titles to Kino Lorber’s library of over 1500 acclaimed new and classic films.

Founded in 1988, Zeitgeist Films has distributed first films by such notable directors as Todd Haynes, Christopher Nolan, Laura Poitras, François Ozon, Atom Egoyan and the Quay Brothers. Their catalogue includes films from the world’s most outstanding filmmakers, such as Agnès Varda, Guy Maddin, Olivier Assayas, Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Peter Greenaway, Yvonne Rainer, Jan Svankmajer, Andrei Zyvagintsev, Astra Taylor and Raoul Peck, to name a few.

Five Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, NOWHERE IN AFRICA, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and went on to gross over $6 million at the U.S. box office. Among the company’s other most successful theatrical releases are: BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK, THE CORPORATION, AIMEE & JAGUAR, SOPHIE SCHOLL: THE FINAL DAYS, BALLETS RUSSES, and INTO GREAT SILENCE.

Starting in July, Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo will relocate to Kino Lorber’s midtown office in Manhattan along with Adrian Curry, an integral member of the Zeitgeist team since 1991. Curry will become Design Director for Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist Films.

Zeitgeist Co-Presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo enthused: “Our collaboration with Kino Lorber is a major step for us; possibly the most significant since we began our company 28 years ago. We are like-minded companies in many ways and anticipate a very successful partnership.”

Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber stated: “Nancy and Emily share our DNA in their passion for great cinema. Their superb taste and astute judgment distinguishes them as the leading curators in the world of art house distribution. We foresee compelling synergies as we pursue our joint mission with joined forces.”

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“Roger Ebert claimed that the re-editing of The Brown Bunny after Cannes allowed him a difference of opinion so vast that he first called it the worst film in history and eventually gave it a thumbs up. This is both far fetched and an outright lie. The truth is, unlike the many claims that the unfinished film that showed at Cannes was 24 minutes shorter than the finished film, it was only 8 minutes shorter. The running time I filled out on the Cannes submission form was arbitrary. The running time I chose was just a number I liked. I had no idea where in the process I would actually be when I needed to stop cutting to meet the screening deadline. So whatever running time was printed in the program, I promise you, was not the actual running time. And the cuts I made to finish the film after Cannes were not many. I shortened the opening race scene once I was able to do so digitally. After rewatching the last 4 minutes of the film over and over again, somewhere within those 4 minutes, I froze the picture and just ended the film there, cutting out everything after that point, which was about 3 minutes. Originally in the salt flats scene, the motorcycle returned from the white. I removed the return portion of that shot, which seemed too literal. And I cut a scene of me putting on a sweater. That’s pretty much it. Plus the usual frame here, frame there, final tweaks. If you didn’t like the unfinished film at Cannes, you didn’t like the finished film, and vice versa. Roger Ebert made up his story and his premise because after calling my film literally the worst film ever made, he eventually realized it was not in his best interest to be stuck with that mantra. Stuck with a brutal, dismissive review of a film that other, more serious critics eventually felt differently about. He also took attention away from what he actually did at the press screening. It is outrageous that a single critic disrupted a press screening for a film chosen in main competition at such a high profile festival and even more outrageous that Ebert was ever allowed into another screening at Cannes. His ranting, moaning and eventual loud singing happened within the first 20 minutes, completely disrupting and manipulating the press screening of my film. Afterwards, at the first public screening, booing, laughing and hissing started during the open credits, even before the first scene of the film. The public, who had heard and read rumors about the Ebert incident and about me personally, heckled from frame one and never stopped. To make things weirder, I got a record-setting standing ovation from the supporters of the film who were trying to show up the distractors who had been disrupting the film. It was not the cut nor the film itself that drew blood. It was something suspicious about me. Something offensive to certain ideologues.”
~ Vincent Gallo

“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster