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New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Old 02-23-09, 05:47 PM
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New Yorker Films Shuts Down

From indieWire:
With rumors swirling all weekend among industry insiders, New Yorker Films, the venerable film distribution company, confirmed today that it is closing its doors. They made the announcement via a simple statement on their website.

“After 43 years in business, New Yorker Films has ceased operations,” the statement reads. “We would like to thank the filmmakers and producers who trusted us with their work, as well as our customers, whose loyalty has sustained us through the years.”

Founded in 1965 by Dan Talbot, New Yorker has a legendary legacy, boasting a long-standing track record in international film distribution, bringing a staggering number of international auteurs to this country’s movie theaters over more than four decades. The company’s crucial role in establishing a lasting film culture in this country cannot be underestimated. A New York Times profile in 1987, marking a 14-week salute to the company at New York’s Public Theater, listed an illustrious roster of filmmakers whose films were released by the company: Ackerman, Bertolucci, Bresson, Chabrol, Fassbinder, Fellini, Godard, Herzog, Kieslowski, Malle, Rohmer, Rossellini, Sembene, Wenders, Schlondorff, and many others.

Talbot, a beloved film figure, formed New Yorker Films in the wake of running the New Yorker Theater at Broadway and 88th St in Manhattan, deciding to take on the distribution of Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Before the Revolution.” Nearly five years ago he spoke about his history in a speech at the Gotham Awards that was later published by indieWIRE.

Neither Dan Talbot or Jose Lopez from New Yorker Films have been available for comment today. Insiders began buzzing more intensely about the company late last week after word spread within the industry that the company was failing under the weight of apparent monies owed to Technicolor. At Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards in California, numerous industry figures were wondering about the fate of the company and its library. Talbot’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas is not expected to be affected by the decision to close New Yorker Films, according to numerous well-placed insiders.


An email message recently sent by Lopez to filmmakers was forwarded to indieWIRE this afternoon, it reads: “I have sad news.The parent company of New Yorker Films has defaulted on a loan. The assets of New Yorker were used as security on the loan. The lender has informed us that it intends to foreclose on these assets. New Yorker stopped doing business yesterday…We are in total shock that after forty three years this has happened.”

Many active members of the film community have worked at New Yorker over the years, ranging from Bingham Ray, Jeff Lipsky, John Vanco and Susan Wrubel, to Mary Ann Hult, Reid Rosefelt, Mark Lipsky, Sasha Berman, Suzanne Fedak, Amy Heller, Rebecca Conget and Harris Dew.

New Yorker was acquired by Madstone in 2002, but survived and continued even after Madstone shut its doors just two years later.

’‘These are ‘difficult’ films, not popular mass-market films,’’ Dan Talbot told the New York Times in the 1987 profile. ‘‘They’re meant for a small, elite audience. And nothing has changed in 20 years; it’s still a very tiny, elite audience. There were other distributors who were bringing in these films, but I would say that our role was to introduce some of the more risky films that on the surface did not seem to have a wide audience. Distribution of that kind is a very financially masochistic business. This is an audience that generally knows at least one foreign language, that has done a certain amount of traveling, that is probably interested in wine and foreign cars and that is fed up with all the junk that comes out of the West Coast. There’s been no dynamic expansion; there is still a limited audience for this kind of film.’’
Most unfortunate news. I wonder what this means for their upcoming DVD slate, in particular Celine and Julie Go Boating, as well as the Project X imprint. I should probably snatch up their titles that are on my wishlist soon.

Last edited by NoirFan; 02-23-09 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 02-23-09, 06:11 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

I got the BFI edition of Celine and Julie Go Boating, I doubt New Yorker could do any better.

Please tell me that Criterion is jumping for joy will be taking over their catalogue.
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Old 02-23-09, 06:20 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I got the BFI edition of Celine and Julie Go Boating, I doubt New Yorker could do any better.
New Yorker planned to use superior source materials and add supplementary features, including a Jonathan Rosenbaum interview and/or commentary track.
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Old 02-23-09, 06:48 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

I hope someone would buy the rights to Koreeda's Maboroshi & After Life fm New Yorker. These were released in non-anamorphic dvds years ago.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:31 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Very bad news, indeed. They recentlly released one of my most wanted items, something that had never even appeared on VHS - the Peter Watkins masterpiece PRIVILEGE - they will be missed!
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Old 02-23-09, 07:37 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by marty888 View Post
Very bad news, indeed. They recentlly released one of my most wanted items, something that had never even appeared on VHS - the Peter Watkins masterpiece PRIVILEGE - they will be missed!
Plus the excellent Watkins box set of a few years back, L'Argent (1983), and Weekend.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:42 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
New Yorker planned to use superior source materials and add supplementary features, including a Jonathan Rosenbaum interview and/or commentary track.
I hadn't known that was coming, but I'm sure someone else will pick up the slack. The only New Yorker release I have is The Wind Will Carry Us. I always rated New Yorker lower than Kino.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:51 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Sad that a venerable company is gone, but their DVD's were always of very poor quality. I hope their catelog falls into the hands of a company that will treat the films better.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:05 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Sad that a venerable company is gone, but their DVD's were always of very poor quality. I hope their catelog falls into the hands of a company that will treat the films better.
They had made improvements in quality the last couple of years however, particularly with the Project X titles.

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I hadn't known that was coming, but I'm sure someone else will pick up the slack.
Well, New Yorker had been claiming a release was imminent for quite some time, though no official release date was ever given. I do hope it sees the light of day eventually, as I'm quite keen on Rosenbaum's thoughts, considering he has been one of Rivette's biggest advocates. Amazon currently has the BFI disc available only from third-party sellers - this would certainly be a lousy time for it to go OOP. Memories of an Underdevelopment was also supposed to be in the pipeline, I guess I'll just order the bargain-priced Mr. Bongo disc.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:24 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Can't stand their DVDs as they almost always used badly converted PAL to NTSC transfers. Add that to their high prices and lack of availability and I say good riddance. Maybe someone who cares a little more will pick up the rights to their library.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:36 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Since this thread quickly veered into a discussion of New Yorker DVDs I'm moving it to the appropriate forum.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:38 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

cant say I'll miss them - their theatrical arms was one of the snobbiest studios, releasing almost exclusively in NYC, hence the name 'New Yorker' - oh well... no big loss IMO.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:04 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

It's a big loss for anyone who books 35mm prints for repertory theaters, cinematheques, classroom screenings, film societies, etc. New Yorker held the theatrical rights to a lot of excellent, esoteric cinema that will likely be neglected now.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:23 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

well what will happen to those theatrical rights when New Yorker goes belly up?
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Old 02-24-09, 01:54 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

New Yorker had a fantastic library, were great with VHS, yet never seemed to make the transition to DVD. All of their DVDs were of very low quality and had high prices.

They were sort of the Criterion of VHS, yet a budget label on DVD. And for a label like theirs to be not embrace DVD as much as it should, they should have seen the writing on the wall.

So, I'm saddened but not surprised they are closing down.

I hope someone, like a Criterion, takes over their library and treats it like it should have been.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:06 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by Giles View Post
well what will happen to those theatrical rights when New Yorker goes belly up?

NY TIMES ARTICLE:

New Yorker Films, the distributor that helped introduce American moviegoers to the works of Bernardo Bertolucci, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Ousmane Sembčne, announced on Monday that it was going out of business after 44 years.

One of the most influential distributors of foreign and independent films, New Yorker has amassed a library of more than 400 titles, including Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” and Claude Lanzmann’s epic Holocaust documentary “Shoah,” said Dan Talbot, who founded the company in 1965.

Mr. Talbot, 82, said in a telephone interview that the company was going out of business because its library was being sold. It had been pledged as collateral on a loan taken out by its former owner, Madstone Films, which bought New Yorker Films in 2002.

The library could be auctioned off as early as next week, he added.

New Yorker Films held rights to distribute movies to theaters and to institutions like colleges, and also to release DVDs.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Hopefully these classics will end up in the hands of someone who actually cares about movies.)
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Old 02-24-09, 08:43 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by marty888 View Post
The library could be auctioned off as early as next week, he added.
As long as Facets doesn't get the rights.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:10 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by moviezzz View Post
New Yorker had a fantastic library, were great with VHS, yet never seemed to make the transition to DVD. All of their DVDs were of very low quality and had high prices.
I agree with you!

This is incredibly sad but not surprising news. A few months ago, I noted in a thread in this section of the forum that I expect to see a couple of companies go belly-up this year due to their inability to adjust to the shrinking DVD market. Again, this is all very unfortunate, but even during DVDs best days New Yorker weren't very impressive with their tech standards. On the other hand, this is undoubtedly a tremendous opportunity for a new distrib to step up and acquire as much NY's catalog as possible. Given how massive their library is, however, I believe that it will be absolutely impossible for one distrib to acquite everything.

In any event, before the year is over, I expect that we will hear about a few more smaller studios going out of business.

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Old 02-24-09, 10:14 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
They had made improvements in quality the last couple of years however, particularly with the Project X titles.
This isn't entirely correct. The reason why Project X's titles did not suffer from the mandatory for New Yorker PAL-NTSC issues is because they, New Yorker, did not have quality control over the tech crew that produced the discs. They simply channeled the finished product under their distro umbrella.

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Old 02-24-09, 10:16 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
Again, this is all very unfortunate, but even during DVDs best days New Yorker weren't very impressive with their tech standards.
My biggest beef with New Yorker was that they seemed to only have the rights to films for a brief period of time - Weekend, L'Argent, and a few others went OOP very quickly. As far as transfer quality, in general they were admittedly less than spectacular, though as I mentioned earlier, the Project X imprint released several quality discs with extras, including Privilege, The Girls, Hunger, and Loving Couples. Plus, Weekend and L'Argent both had exclusive commentary tracks.
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Old 02-26-09, 12:08 AM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
My biggest beef with New Yorker was that they seemed to only have the rights to films for a brief period of time...
I would agree. This was one of the reasons why they did not really invest much into their transition from VHS to DVD. On the other hand, there were some very knowledgeable and helpful folks in the company. Unfortunately, even with their enormously rich catalog of films, the company never listened to those who were interested in actually supporting their efforts. Regardless, they will be missed!

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Old 03-06-09, 01:44 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

Cinema Guild will be releasing at least 2 of the New Yorker titles that were pending release:

Yella
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Old 03-06-09, 06:01 PM
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Re: New Yorker Films Shuts Down

That's encouraging news, hopefully there'll be more to come.
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